Yoga is something I have walked my own personal journey through and prayed about incorporating into Faithful Workouts for a long time. A decision that did not come easily or lightly but one that I am not only at peace with but am excited about in how God continues to lead this ministry and our mission to share the good news of Christ with those who do not know Him.
Our prayer with Faithful Yoga is that Christians who want the physical benefits of yoga will now have a safe place to practice and those that don’t yet know Jesus will have a place to experience a different style of yoga faithfully rooted in God’s word. I believe that it is not the position of our bodies that determines who we are worshipping but the position of our heart. I can be in Child’s Pose, for example, and be reminded that I am the daughter of the King or I can be in Warrior Pose and be praising God.
I am not saying I support all yoga, I am saying I support yoga that focuses on Jesus and the truth of the Bible while doing yoga type movements and so here are 9 ways I believe Faithful Yoga can improve your body, mind and soul.
3 WAYS FAITHFUL YOGA BENEFITS THE BODY
Improves Muscle Tone and Flexibility. Our Faithful Yoga flows work your muscles using your own body weight for resistance in the same way as standard pushups or squats. The muscles doing the work get stronger by moving through a range of motion while supporting the weight of the body while engaging certain muscles for balance and support.
Increases Blood Flow and Circulation. Poor circulation can be a root cause all kinds of problems in our bodies like fluid retention and swelling in the lower extremities. Movement is key to wellness on many levels, including circulatory health. Faithful Yoga can improve the body’s circulation with low impact movements which is the best type of exercise for poor circulation. These stretching movements promote an increase in the body’s blood flow.
Builds Strength For Joints, Ligaments and Tendons. Did you know weaker muscles means the body relies on the joints for stability? This puts a lot of pressure on the joints, ligaments and tendons. Strengthening muscles with Faithful Yoga can create healthier joints, as stronger muscles support the body, relieving stress and strain while assisting with healthy weight and pain management.
Denika Ross, a certified Holy Yoga instructor and founder of Unshaken Yoga (who also happens to be my amazing daughter), loves how yoga has improved her body physically, “Yes, yoga is a great way to stretch, but it's also a great way to build strength, improve your balance, and strengthen your core.”
3 WAYS FAITHFUL YOGA BENEFITS THE MIND
In traditional Yoga people often talk about “emptying your mind” but I strongly disagree and actually think it’s dangerous to empty our mind. To quote an old American Proverb “An empty mind is the devil’s playground”.
In reality, sin begins in the mind. We tend to let our minds wonder about, thinking about whatever it wishes. An idle mind can be a dangerous one so we want to fill our mind with the truth of God’s Word.
In Galatians 5 we learn there are 2 voices in our mind the voice of the Holy Spirit (Truth) and the lies of the world (sinful nature) "These two forces are constantly fighting each other" Galatians 5:17 so we need to work on "letting the Holy Spirit guide your lives" (Gal 5:16)
When we keep our minds and hearts on Jesus, slowing down to fill ourselves with scripture we reap these benefits. All our yoga flows incorporate the truth of the Bible. While moving your body you are filled with it’s life giving truths.
Reduced Anxiety, Stress and Depression. During Faithful Yoga, where we focus on being in the presence of God, we can experience more peace and relaxation which decreases our physical tension, releasing the grip the enemy has on us with lies that cause us fear, anxiety and stress. Nothing reduces stress like focusing on the truth of who God is.
Improved Mood. There is nothing more fulfilling, encouraging, inspiring and uplifting than drawing ourselves closer to God. He is our Holy Father, Counselor and Healer. Faithful Yoga is a time to slow down, lay our burdens at the foot of the Cross and let God fight our battles. This time spent with Him is the best mood booster!
Improves Memory and Concentration. A study done by the University of Pennsylvania found that even a few minutes spent to intentionally slowing down the mind could improve focus, mental performance and concentration. Stress greatly affects the brain and Faithful Yoga promotes breathing while meditating on God’s word to remove distractions and calm the mind and body so the brain can perform at it’s best.
3 WAYS FAITHFUL YOGA BENEFITS THE SOUL
Stillness. It’s a noisy world out there with an abundance of distractions the enemy is using to try to pull us away from God. Satan wants us to believe that busyness and competing to do more and be more is what will bring us happiness. The last thing he wants is for you to slow down, be still and sit with your Heavenly Father. Faithful Yoga doesn’t just promote stillness, but stillness in the presence of God where we can draw ourselves closer to Him, where we can experience Jesus as the Prince of Peace and allow Him to fight our battles.
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Deeper Connection With God. Here at Faithful Workouts we have adopted the term faithfully rooted. As Christians we are called to study the Word and be deeply rooted in God’s truth, for it is the only Truth. Our Faithful Yoga exercises include a theme and scripture where the time spent in the yoga movements is also time spent in cultivating a deeper connection with Him.
James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Colossians 2:7 “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Opening Ourselves To Hear His Voice. God doesn’t have to compete with the noise of the world. Many times we are praying to hear God, praying to receive an answer to a prayer but we are not doing our part to slow down so we can hear His voice above all else. During our Faithful Yoga workouts, we are opening ourselves through obedience and stillness so we can prepare our hearts and minds to receive what He has for us.
If you are interested in the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga, we want to encourage you to find an instructor that speaks Biblical truths into your heart and mind during your yoga practice. Denika shares the importance of this in her yoga coaching and instruction “I approach every yoga flow with the intention to communicate God's love with the people who are taking the class or watching the videos. Yoga should be a place to slow down, focus on our breath and quiet our minds so that we can better hear God's voice.”
If you would like to experience a Faithful Yoga exercise here is a great Beginner Flow that I hope will encourage you in mind, body and soul.
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Michelle is the founder of Faithful Workouts and The Fresh Table. She began her fitness career in 1984 and still loves to help people break free from fitness frustration and move towards a life that's full of physical and spiritual health. Michelle is married to Jeff and they have three children and a lovable dog named Mojo.