I mentioned here that one of the reasons I started yoga was to use it as a tool for developing a better relationship with God. Inviting God to your yoga practice can be an easy and rewarding thing if you put your mind to it. However, I believe it takes conscious thought and effort at the beginning and hopefully, it will eventually become a habit.
In this post, I’ll be sharing specific things I’ve found to be helpful for inviting God to your yoga practice at the beginning, end and middle of your practice. And specifically how you can use music and the word of God, to facilitate an atmosphere of worship on your yoga mat.
Inviting God to Your Yoga Practice
Read Your Bible First
I try to structure my day in a way that, I don’t get on my mat ’till after I’ve read my bible. In addition, I have an unspoken rule for myself that I can’t practice ’till I read my bible. So if I’m jonzing for a stretch, or need to post something for a yoga challenge I’m doing, I can’t do any of that if I haven’t read the Word first. While reading your bible, pick a verse to meditate on.
At the Beginning of Your Practice
This tip flows off from the first one; I like to approach my mat with a specific verse in mind. I can’t do that if I haven’t read my bible. There are some days when I’ve read something and nothing has stuck with me (this really shouldn’t be the case, but it happens sometimes) and on those days, I pick a verse from my memory or highlighted verses on my bible app to meditate on. The first step to using this verse in your practice is to repeat the verse to yourself at the beginning of your practice. There’s a period when you get on your mat, right at the beginning, where you ought to spend time centering yourself and setting your intentions for the day or your practice, this is usually a good time to bring that verse to the front of your mind. You can take it a step further by saying a prayer before you get started.
During Your Practice
While holding an easy pose, repeat the verse to yourself. Sometimes, I use a verse to measure how long I stay in a pose. So I might be able to say it twice the first time I do a pose, but the next time I come back to that pose, I can now say it 3 times. Or maybe you’re holding a pose for a few minutes to get a deeper stretch, that’s also a good time to focus on your breath and your verse; it also helps to take your mind off any discomfort. However, don’t do this for hard poses; some harder poses, especially ones that challenge your balance really require you to empty your mind, focus on your breath and body to stay steady or you might hurt yourself.
At the End of Your Practice
At the end of your practice, while cooling down or in savasana (corpse pose) repeat your verse again. You can also spend a few minutes here thinking about the verse, and how it applies to you or what it means for your life. This is also a good time to say another prayer, maybe thank God for a good, injury-free practice before releasing all thoughts and relaxing completely.
If you’re one to use music while you’re practicing, stick with gospel music. It’s a good way to keep Christ at the forefront of your mind. When I’m using a video or an app, I usually don’t listen to any music in order to hear properly. However, on days when I get on my mat and simply freestyle my practice, with no specific direction, I like to listen to gospel music during that time.
I recently discovered Holy Yoga and it has me so excited. I always planned to get my teacher training done sometime next year, since finding holy yoga and doing my research, I’m leaning towards training with them to become an R-HYI, I still have to do more research and pray about it. Holy Yoga is a non-profit ministry that uses yoga as a whole worship experience through prayer, breath work and movement. Research I’ve done so far leads me to believe that holy yoga is also a great way of inviting God to your practice and looking at their training curriculum, I feel like going through the training will take my relationship with God to a new level. They have Holy Yoga TV where you can take classes online and I’ll be trying some of their classes soon, if you’re interested in how that goes, leave a comment.