April 08, 2014
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Yoga first entered the western world in the 1940s and slowly made its way into the mainstream and into people’s lives. The mental, physical, and spiritual practices yoga comprises have helped many reach unification with a divine power and obtain the peace of mind they seek. Practicing yoga is a process of unification with oneself, one’s heart, and one’s thoughts in order to reach peace of mind and obtain spiritual wisdom. Similar traditionsexist in a number of religions. The form may vary, but the essence is the same.
As the world changes, so does our view of practicing a religion and maintaining our connection to God or another higher power. In recent years, many Christians have turned to Eastern traditions and religions for guidance in their spiritual life, as a way of handling the pressures and challenges of everyday life, of takingbetter care of their bodies and souls.This shift in the behavior of Christianshas challenged official Christian institutions to re-connect with their believers. Christianity turned to the past to find a way to be relevant tothe faithfulandstrengthen their connection to God in a manner more suitable and acceptable to life today.
This marked the beginnings of Christian meditation or Christian yoga. Christian yoga combines Christian belief and yoga practices in an effort to help onemake oneself one with God. It is based on simple prayers, such as the ones used by early Christian monks, and is seen as a resurrection of an early Christian method of praying. Promoted as a way to help believers have a fuller experience of God, this form of prayer – essentially the repetitionof a single word – was once referred to in Christianity as contemplation.
Christianmediation promotes taking care of your body with exercises and spending time with your own thoughts. This is the way yoga was implemented in modern Christianity. Even today, it is not fully accepted by everyone; this method of practicing yoga has been criticized by some believers. At the same time, it is a simple, powerful, and richprocess that can yield impressive results.
Considering the fact that all religions have a form of meditation, as well as the strong impact yoga has had on so many people’s lives, we may see Christian yoga as both an individual path to peace and unification with God, and as a way toward a global spiritual unification of people: a way to look at the world through the eyes of a particular religion – and experience universal faith.