Yoga, as we all know, is a physical practice, but what about yoga as a spiritual practice? This concept can invite much controversy and discussion.
Should it be spiritual? And does some “spiritual” aspect of yoga conflict with my personal beliefs?
Much of this controversy is based on how one sees others’ view of yoga. But the reality is, only you can answer what yoga should be for YOU. The reality is it can be spiritual (and not in a controversial way), and it can be physical. How then, do we react, when the deeper, seemingly more spiritual side of yoga, jumps out and says “HEY! Pay attention to me! You need me!”?
This July 2021 update offers just one perspective of how both can unleash your practice’s fullest potential.
Yoga Often Starts as a Physical Practice
Many of us have come to Inspire Yoga for physical exercise, maybe to lose weight, maybe to gain flexibility–the reasons are endless.
For me, this began to happen many years after taking on a physical practice. I was introduced to yoga through a high school organization.
The teacher never really mentioned the deeper side of things. We focused mainly on poses, breath, and the fitness aspect.
Of course, I knew briefly where and how yoga began, but not much more than that. Some years later I began practicing at Inspire Yoga in Highland Village, and suddenly, these small, seemingly insignificant moments started to make me realize, there was more to this practice than I knew.
It was at this point that I enrolled in the Inspire Yoga 200hr teacher training program. So, here I was. I was taking that step to dive right in to all the delicious layers of yoga, hooray!
Wrestling with Yoga as a Spiritual Practice
Then we began to delve deep in learning about meditation, the chakras, and so much more. It was then that the complexity of my self and what yoga truly was began to entangle into a bit of confusion.
I grew up with Christian beliefs. Though I feel myself to be open-minded and adaptable, I began to learn things and discover ideas that I, very honestly, was hesitant about.
Some of the time I thought “well, that spiritual practice of yoga isn’t for me” or “I don’t necessarily agree with this”. I felt a bit lost. I so wanted to become this deeper, more spiritual yogi.
I just felt that I couldn’t.
Don’t Define Growth in Your Practice by Fear
After much time, and a bit of procrastination. Fine, it was a great deal of procrastination. I very unwillingly began to complete our meditation and journal assignment.
To say that I was against the idea of meditating is an understatement. With all these preconceived notions on what meditation should be, and how it would not fit with my life or beliefs, I struggled at first.
Daily, I would dread having to do the minuscule 10-minutes of meditating, finding my mind too busy on thoughts of how I could do this.
Then, the layers began to open up and I started to reflect on all these anxieties that yoga was suddenly creating. I began to realize that I had the power to create the meaning behind what I was being taught about yoga.
I was being given all these great gifts and just pushing them aside because I thought I shouldn’t be embracing these areas. Once I was aware of this, I began to find my own spiritual meaning, embracing my beliefs hand in hand with the yoga lifestyle.
I had let my idea of what I felt I could not do cloud my vision depriving myself of how amazing yoga can be when you begin to explore below the surface.
Define Your Yoga Practice for Your Lifestyle
The reality of yoga is that it is a practice and a lifestyle. What that means to you is entirely your choice.
You have the power to take that step, of seeing how you can take the practices of yoga and your beliefs, and combine them into something amazing; something just for you.
2 thoughts on “Yoga as a Spiritual Practice | Don’t Be Afraid to Find More than Fitness”
Kylee – I am really impressed with your thought processes and resolve. You have a lot share! Thank you!
Love this piece Kylee..it’s beautiful to see how you can embrace Yoga and make if your own. Our backgrounds are part of our tapestry, and Yoga can enhance our personal spiritual journey as well. Stay true to your values as your heart continues to open. It’s what makes you who you are. Always stay true and let love be your guide. I am a Christisn too, and the spirit of Yoga and the philosophy of Buddism have helped me in my inner healing as well. My goal is to help others live their best life..so I start with myself, then choose to see the beauty that is within us all. Let love be the light that shines. This is the faith I choose. Blessings and Namaste 🙂 xo