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rachel dahl a la modest yoga balmain black gold vintage christian rachel dahl a la modest yoga balmain black gold vintage christian a la modest rachel dahl vintage yoga christian

My back was turned in all but one of these photos, because the shoulders and the backbone of this top are where the fun is! I was wearing an orange Nike tank underneath straight out of the gym, and that is what you see shining through the see through spine. If I had worn a multicolor tank top underneath this, it would’ve been a perfect chakra representation! This lovely ribbed long sleeved top is from Sammydress. Doesn’t its texture kind of remind you of a toned down Balmain?

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Being open to spirituality is something to be celebrated. Believing in something is better than believing in nothing at all.

Yogis believe that there is a spirit realm, including a creator called Brahma. Similarly, Christians believe in spirits and a Creator as well. However, Christians also believe that the devil and his demons know that there is a God and a spirit realm as well and that any spirit other than an angel is a demon, because according to the Bible, humans go directly to either heaven or hell (Hebrews 9:27). Because of this, many Christians turn their backs on yoga and write everything off about it as demonic, because it is a spiritual practice but not Christian.

However, yogis seem to display “fruits” that are good, loving, kind, peaceful, and self controlled at all times, which is what the Bible teaches Christians to be like (Galatians 5:22). Many of them treat others more highly than or as highly as themselves, believe in non violence, non lying and non stealing, simplicity and generosity, avoidance of lust and displaying purity, and encouraging general positivity, according to yoga’s Eightfold Path. Yogis presence and practice do not display obvious outward signs of evil.

Though the Bible in 2 Corinth 11:14-15 warns Christians not to be deceived by demons, who in their power can pose as “angels of light” and “servants of righteousness,” we do not need to worship these spirits as traditional Hindi yogis worship their gods. We stay true to our own faith.

We must all recognize however our similarities but also understand our differences—which brings me to my next point.

Emphasizing loving others despite differences is a better example of your faith than condemnation

A very young child in  my family passed by a church unlike her own and proclaimed disgust by saying something like “eew.” Members of her family were tickled by her reaction enough to share it with others including me. I was appalled but mostly by the adults’ response to this. How could we be teaching and encouraging our children to hate others? It is okay to express differences, but it is never okay to look down on others and their practices (which are often linked to their culture and upbringing), and never loving to show your superiority by mocking them. It is not on Christ’s mandate or any other spiritual leaders’ advice to mock others.

Not that you’re supposed to water down your own belief, hide it, or change it, but yoga has taught me to be kind to anyone, regardless of background. People of the same faith naturally tend to alienate others who are outside their circle, and this is just not what Christ or any other faith leader would do.

Yoga has given me an opportunity to converse with and learn from others, humbling myself to the realization that my own feelings might’ve been shaping details of my faith that are not of the spirit.

Encourage me to accept my own body and think beyond it, even as I use my body for exercise.

Through yoga, I’ve learned to accept my own body more rather than change it, and changing our bodies is what most exercises push us to do. However the great reward of this acceptance, this self love through yoga postures and movements, asanas and vinyasas, somehow results in the most amazing physique and sensation my body has ever had. It is truly ironic! It could only be mind over matter, and the power of the mind can change your physical limitations. Simply amazing. I’ve never felt and looked better in my entire life.

Treat my body more like a temple of the spirit

This “exercise,” this lifestyle is what I’ve come to embrace yoga as has made me more self controlled. It has made me more disciplined—needing less sleep and food with this new burst of energy, and needing less material possessions, and wanting no junk food or harsh chemicals to enter my body. The Christian church has taught none of this if barely.

How are Christians supposed to give themselves to the Lord if they are consuming addictive substances such as sugar and gluten on a daily basis? The body is literally a temple of the Holy Spirit according to 1 Corinth 6:19-20, which yoga constantly reminds us of. I do not mean to make anyone feel bad, but I wish to share how we’ve been poisoned by commerce to  think that dessert and modern day wheat are okay. Bread during the ancient times was totally biochemically different, and we as children of progress have destroyed that. Perhaps the Christian church should change communion to have something other than today’s wheat.

Solidified my belief in the spirit world and its connection with the physical

Whether sadly or not, practicing yoga has made the spirit world come alive to me again. It’s easy to get stagnant and complacent with the Christian faith at times. We go to church every Sunday, go to at least one Bible study a week, give and receive the same popular scriptures out of context to make yourself or others feel good about themselves, listen to unpalatable CCM (Christian Contemporary Music), and get condemned if you do anything that gives the appearance of evil like read Harry Potter or wear a natural crystal around your neck, etc. Sure, it’s best not to partake in something that clearly looks bad, like having a teacher of the opposite gender hang out with a teenager after school hours.

Crystals were formed by God, came straight from the earth, and do geologically, like all things give off resonance and vibration like humans do. That’s not mumbo jumbo or witch craft. That’s a fact. Whether or not crystals heal or change moods is up to you—that’s partly having faith. The same thing goes for “grounding” or “earthing,” which some Christians have also condemned as a sort of new age practice. This earth was formed and belongs to God, thank you. I will be sitting on it, sleeping on it, and walking barefoot on it, as long as I live on this earth. The land beneath your feet (or hands or head if you’re doing inversions!) scientifically gives off electrons, so if the word “magic” scares you, you can just think of this as electrons. Our bodies need this charge naturally from the earth, that we get so little of now because of modern day living, because of rubber soled shoes for instance.

The connection I’ve drawn between the physical and spiritual from yoga has a lot to do with continually treating my body with care by food and the right kind of exercise our bodies can handle with little complication. Marathons and doing typical cardio exercises for an hour or so are not kind to the body, and a lot of professionals in the scientific field are starting to realize and warn us of that.

This proper maintenance of the body in turn strengthens the mind, upholds the spirit. Part of yoga’s goal is to be able to control the body through awareness in order for the body to be open spiritually. Most of Western yoga has diminished the second part of that equation, which for a Christian is probably the safest thing to do. However, I believe that in order to truly serve our God we must purify the body of its physical addictions from bad food and lifestyles, because these can control your minds and habits. If we are not willing to let go of our wheat based cupcakes at least for a day, then these have become your god. Same goes for the love of money and anything else that you cannot let go of (1 Timothy 6:10). Yoga seems to be of help in these areas through discipline.

There is no end to learning

Being immersed in yoga as both a student and a teacher in its Western derivation has made me want to learn more—not only about asanas but about my own body, how to treat others, the earth, and my awareness of the spirit realm. When I am grounding on the field upside down and with the sun on my face, I think “God, I feel your presence in me and on this earth. Thank you for your creation.”

 

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13 Responses to “What Yoga Has Taught Me as A Non-Hindu and a Christian”

  1. Caution

    Hi. Well I’ve accepted your invitation to read and “pick apart” your article.

    First I want to say, I actually really agree with your view on Christianity, which highlights a sad difference between us: I am not a Christian. I observe all the Holy Days detailed in Leviticus 23, which are usually kept mostly by Jews, and I observe the Sabbath on Saturday (Exodus 20) so I am definitely not a Christian. There are many things Christians do which are not Biblical and which I would never do. You could say I’m a Jew but I don’t observe any manmade traditions of Judaism (which include traditions that Yahshua criticised the Pharisees for when He was on earth).

    Also I recognize your world view from things you’ve said. This is another huge difference between us. I have decided to follow the Bible as closely as possible, meaning that there are many things I’ve had to give up and many things I will never do. I realized that you have not decided to follow the whole Bible closely. And so, our actual views of the world are totally different and we think differently as well. Therefore it follows that our opinions will never converge.

    That said, I’ll state my opinions so hopefully you will understand how I see things.
    ——————–

    1. I’m not too familiar with the social aspect of yoga/pilates classes, but from what I can see, they provide a warm atmosphere for women to gather. I can see that this would be hard for you to abandon, based on what I’ve observed of your blog, your pictures, your writings. I am somewhat colder in that I will abandon any social activity that is not in line with my beliefs. If the social aspect is not important to you, please correct me on that.

    ——————–

    2. You spoke about love in your second section. Well, I believe that following Yahweh’s commandments is actually the definition of love.

    John 14:23-24
    23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

    24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

    ——————–
    According to what Yahshua said several times, the thing he wants most from us is to follow His/His Father’s words.
    So actually, love is keeping what the Bible says, even if criticism is in order. Certainly Yahshua criticised a lot of people, doesn’t mean he wasn’t loving. He did it because they needed to hear the truth.
    If you go along with something instead of abandoning it and/or telling your fellow practioners the truth, you may be knowingly allowing/encouraging them to walk along the path that our Messiah hates. It is kindest to tell them the truth that you know, and maybe they can escape the false religion as well.

    ———————-

    The spirit world…Like I mentioned earlier, I do agree with what you said about Christianity. So it saddens me that you feel the need to turn too Eastern religion to find the spiritual world’s reality in your life. If only you weren’t a Christian to begin with, these problems probably wouldn’t exist for you. Mainstream Christianity is usually devoid of spiritual power or enlightenment, and avoids the topics of the spirit world, angels, demons, Lucifer etc. All I can say is, I’m sorry your religion has let you down. But you can always choose to abandon it and embrace the Bible instead. Read the Bible, you see so much emphasis on the spirit world and guidance on how to handle stuations.

    So, that’s what I think. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Heidi

    I was born Catholic and raised Lutheran by my dad. I was raised to be open minded and to accept others for who they are. I wasn’t aware that Christians believed such things about Yoga but I can see how they came up with such opinions. My family wasn’t too much into Exercise, Yoga and that sort of thing so I think that is why.
    I think Yoga is a fun and challenging exercise. For me, it’s very relaxing and helps relieve muscle aches. I am no way good at it, but I do it anyways because the way it makes me feel afterwards.
    I never really think of it as a spiritual exercise- I just like the exercise! haha :)

  3. Ramdas

    Paul says, very clearly, that we think on ANYTHING that is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, having any virtue or praise. (Philippians 4:8)

    You yourself say that your practice of Yoga has humbled you, recognize that you are truly a temple of God and, apparently, has strengthened your belief in God. Where is the problem?

    Some might say that the adversary is just using the good points of Yoga to lull people to sleep so they won’t be vigilant. Luke 11 recounts the Savior casting out a devil and being accused of using the power of the devil to do so. His reply:

    “If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.” In other words, if Satan is inspiring you to be humble, recognize you are a temple of God and strengthening your belief in God then he would be fighting against himself, which he isn’t.

    Much love and Jai Bhagwan

  4. brisallie

    Since last year I’m doing yoga, sadly I haven’t done as regularly as I used to do lately, but I agree that it brings lots of benefits to our body and spirit. Everytime I’ve my sessions, I feel better.

    Btw, I love that sweater ,is so beautiful.

  5. Rachel Dahl

    Hi Caution,

    First of all, I really apologize about the spam coming into my blog around the same time you probably subscribed to the comments on this post. I have taken care of the problem, and you shouldn’t be getting any more spam in your email (same with the rest of the people who subscribed!).

    In all honesty, I did not know this much about Judaism until I encountered a few people including yourself (if you had to classify yourself in a religion) while “discussing” the topic of yoga. My exchange with you was probably the most civil and meaningful (the most I’ve given thought to). I’ve learned a lot and have come to respect and admire how closely you and others like you choose to follow the Bible in its entirety.

    Part of why I mentioned that is because I was attacked by a group of women on Facebook (some Christian some maybe Jewish), which hurt me instead of help me. Instead of engaging in a healthy debate, one woman decided to talk at me with such disdain and hate. Thankfully, my patience and understanding can be abundant. I do not know how a non believer in my place would’ve taken the response from that group. How many people actually decide to serve the Lord after being attacked by his followers? Not many. I came to serve the Lord because of his love first of all (also his marvelous creation), then I decide thereafter out of mutual love to follow his commands the best I can interpret them. I tend to deal with people the way I want to be dealt. I’m seeing that that’s not what these women believe—instead, they’ll unleash wrath on someone just like the Lord unleashed his wrath and anger, at least that’s how I’m reading into it.

    As cliche as it is, God knows all things, including my mind and heart in this matter. These people do not yet act like they do.

    To address your points:

    1. Yes, you are correct that I care about the social aspect a whole lot. I didn’t use to. I used to be completely isolated right after being a believer, just me and my worn out bible. I was in middle school when I first came to really believe in God and Christ, and because I was forced to be around all kinds of people, I did not find anyone who understood me and who was as dedicated to Christ or even a believer at all. I was an oddball, and I cared little about what they thought about me, because I believed to be doing the right thing in my own life. Sometime later, I was trying to find a balance between my belief and loving people, and I landed on just setting myself up as an example, without force or condemnation, without giving in to lifestyles that I did not see as pleasing to God (my interpretation of being in the world without being of it). A few women have expressed how my attitude has actually opened them up to thinking about God, which I am very pleased to hear. Of course, to God be the glory.

    ————————————–

    2. Yes, I do love God and want to follow his commands. In all that I do, I aim to seek his acceptance and give him glory. If I am mistaken with the way I want to transform yoga for his glory, to turn around what was meant for “evil” for good, then I know he will stop me. I believe that Hinduism (the background of yoga) has created idols for the way they interpret our same God. The multitude of Hindu gods are the Indian’s interpretation of God’s multi faceted power and personality (his love, his anger, his jealousy, his humor perhaps, etc), yet all these they claim to be actually one in the same being. I believe that one being is whom we call Yahweh.

    ————————————

    3. Constructive criticism is welcome in my home! Not criticism without discussion. The kind of condemnation I despise is the kind that just throws words at me without letting themselves hear what I have to say in response. When we correct children, we explain to them why something is wrong and talk to them, listen and understand why they did what they did. We correct very little children without needing to explain when it is beyond their comprehension to understand. When God corrects us, he doesn’t need to explain things to us such as in the case of Job, because just like very little children, we wouldn’t be able to understand God’s great mind. However God’s followers are people, and they should be able to talk things out.

    ——————————————-

    4. With the exception of pentecostal churches and the like, most laid back Christian churches avoid the topic of spirituality. Everything has become “practical.” Although I consider myself social now, I don’t dwell on what’s practical. I gravitate towards more esoteric aspects of my faith, but that might just be because of my personality, because I do that with everything. I believe that how I see and deal with things as a unique gift from God that I want to use for him. It could very well be that I am being deceived by Satan with making yoga serve the purpose of God, but I haven’t felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to drop what I’m doing.

    If you don’t quite identify as a Jew, what is your view of Christ? Is it similar to Jews’?

    Thank you so much for your input! You’ve given me plenty to think about.

    ————————————————–
    For the others interested in the article written by this person I am replying to above, visit: http://deuteronomy6mission.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/day-4-why-yoga-prayer-circles-tarotpalm-reading-etc-are-unbiblical/

  6. Rachel Dahl

    Hello Ramdas,

    Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. First of all, I apologize about the spam in the comments. I’ve taken care of the problem now, so if you wish to resubscribe to the comments, feel free to do so.

    That passage from the Bible is quite helpful and draws a parallel to what I’ve been witnessing when I see how skeptics react to yoga. Thank you!

    I would really like to hear more about your faith as it relates to yoga. I will be visiting your blog more often!

    Namaste.

  7. Rachel Dahl

    Hi Heidi!

    It does make me feel very good all over, physically and mentally. It’s like going to a spa—but with strengthening benefits!

    Rachel

  8. Rachel Dahl

    Hello Brisallie,

    Thank you! I do like the sweater a lot.

    Oh, I agree! Like I told Heidi from the comment before you—it’s like going to a spa but with strengthening benefits! ;-) You should try yoga more often!!

    Rachel

  9. Caution

    Hi again. I didn’t think you were going to reply and I forgot about this whole thing! lol
    Well I had decided to continue my blog offline, so I took it down…

  10. Rachel Dahl

    Hello Caution,

    I was browsing through your blog, and I saw that you put a lot of time in it. How come you’re taking it down, might I ask? I liked reading your entries.

    Rachel

  11. Caution

    Uh, a lot of time? Not really, and I only wrote when I wanted to reflect on something or other. I’m used to setting up websites, it takes a very short space of time and so does writing, one of the few things that I do very fast! I decided to continue my blog offline mostly because I’m not sure I’m supposed to be doing such a blog publicly. I wondered if expounding on the Bible is the same as preaching, which is a very serious thing and not something women are supposed to do (according to 1 Timothy 2:9-12).

    I’ve seen many ladies writing Bible-related blogs and saying very misleading things which people actually believe. So for now, anyway, I’m going to keep my Bible blogging to myself until I’m perfectly comfortable that it’s something I’m supposed to do, and that I’m ready to do it. I guess that’s the reason.

  12. Emily Grace

    Hi Rachel,

    This was very thoughtful and well written. Thanks for sharing!

    I especially agree with this line – “Yoga has given me an opportunity to converse with and learn from others, humbling myself to the realization that my own feelings might’ve been shaping details of my faith that are not of the spirit.”

    So many times we are not willing to evaluate ourselves in light of what our responses truly tell about us. Thanks for pointing that out and how yoga has helped you overcome.

    I am not currently going to a yoga class. Do you have or recommend any videos?

    Thanks,
    Emily Grace

  13. Rachel Dahl

    Hi Emily,

    Thank you for comment! I haven’t been to a yoga class in a couple months myself! There are subscription based yoga classes online, but I don’t remember which of them were recommended by other students I’ve heard from. I would remember if I used those websites myself, but I hear that they are very helpful in learning new postures or sequences. Of course the downside with that is not being able to be seen and readjusted by a teacher. Once in a while I’d borrow yoga DVDs from my library or pull some up on Netflix or Amazon. I REALLY like Jenny Cornero’s videos from Amazon, mostly because she has a lovely accent and a focus on health :)

    Rachel

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