What is Christian Yoga? It is a fact that “Yoga” itself originates and is based from Hinduism, and many people see conflict in using yoga the Christian way as Hinduism is deemed un-extractable from yoga. However, although yoga is said to have begun from Hinduism religion, the practice and the goal that it tries to achieve is a union of oneself with the Supreme Being; as such, a number of Christians have been performing “Christian yoga” as their means of making a closer connection with God.
Even though the freedom of practicing Christian Yoga lies in every Christian practitioner, these practices have been met with a lot of criticisms from Hindus, purists, and some Christians themselves, and a silent “holy war” has emerged from its midst. These criticisms have been based on each ones beliefs and practices, and have become a significant barrier for some, to have a better understanding of the true meaning of “unity with God”.
So how does a Christian Yoga practice go about? One particular Christian Yoga practice instructed by Cindy Senarighi in Mahtomedi Minnesota is set in St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church’s main chapel, where one finds the yoga teacher sitting in lotus position on top of a refined wooden platform with verdant woods as her backdrop, seen through panoramic windows.
Overhead speakers tinkle soft music, and about two-dozen students in outfits, mostly women, settle on top of blue and purple mats to start the class with a breathing exercise called “ujjayi”, and is performed using a recommended mantra from their instructor called “Yahweh” or “The Jesus Prayer”; the platform – an altar, the tune -praise music, the practice – Christian yoga.
This particular Christian Yoga class is a part of a movement that’s rapidly growing, which seeks to retool the practice of the five-thousand year-old yoga practice to fit Christian teachings. Hundreds of sessions for Christian yoga are now in practice, from Grand Rapids, to Michigan, to New York, and a national association for teachers of Christian yoga was founded in July of 2005, as well as a swing of videos and books that are to hit the market.
Although the action has stiffened yoga purists and a number of Christians who believe yoga can’t be separated from its roots, a boom has still been seen by its backers and is considered to be just the beginning. Some Christians have avoided the conflict of yoga application with Christianity and have instead created what they call “PraiseMoves”.