The Power of Our Mind & Body

Yoga and Christianity a Conflict?

dsHowever, that depends on your opinion. Recently, I was
reading about someone who claims Kundalini is “new age witchcraft.” Sorry to say, another person recently
stated, “Good Christians should avoid the devil’s
exercise,” in reference to Yoga.

Are the Salem witch trials still so close to our hearts? These claims are interesting because ministers and priests have been practicing meditation for centuries, without any complaints.

I suppose, if someone devoted enough time to meditating on bad thoughts, meditation would be a bad experience.

To be honest, it depends upon what you meditate about; and in truth, within some schools of Yoga, Hinduism, or Buddhism is taught. For me, this has always been a
conflict, as I love Yoga, but have no desire to change my faith.

The many teachings of Yoga and meditation are non-sectarian. Now, if Yoga were a religion, which would it be? The principles of Yoga are universal.

The Yamas and Niyamas are similar, in principle, to the Ten Commandments, but as a Christian you have the right to pick and choose what you want from Yoga. You also have the right to avoid sectarian ashrams.

Yoga practices, and meditation, give many Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Moslems, a closer connection to God, but there will always be someone who feels tempted to change their faith.

Let’s be honest, the people who worry about a sudden change of faith are, for the most part, rooted in two distinct camps of thought.

1. Someone who is on the fence about their own religion and not quite sure where they really stand.

2. Severe intolerance of any idea that is new or might
result in opening the mind.

Let’s stop the intolerance now. When you are driving in your car, waiting in line or come face-to-face with someone who is different from you, please set an example for your children and give the other person a break.

Yoga is “Unity.”

Experienced Yoga practitioners often feel discouraged when a naturally gifted dancer, gymnast, or martial artist, performs an advanced asana with little effort. As I have mentioned before, there are people with elongated joint capsules and their extraordinary range of motion is a gift. You and I may have to work at it, but the many rewards of Yoga practice are still there.

Yoga consists of many facets, and Asanas, are just one of the many parts of Yoga. Many students who have extraordinary flexibility admit they struggle with another part of Yoga – such as: The student who just can’t calm down to meditate, balancing in asanas, Pranayama, Yogic Philosophy, and so on.

Unfortunately, I have seen many promising Yoga
practitioners quit practicing Yoga, due to a competitive mind-set. Within their own minds – they were in competition with every student in the class and, possibly, their Yoga teacher too.

Remember that Yoga means “union.” In simple terms, we can say union of mind, body, and spirit. There are many more explanations about union, but that could be a separate article. There are also many branches of Yoga and, therefore, many types of union, but competition is far from union.

Competition enhances the ego, and the ego is just a part of your personality. The ego resists union for its own survival. The ego is our social mask and does not want to share anything.

Remember, the next time you start to feel envious of another student or teacher – that is not union. If anything, it will hold you back from union and many more valuable contributions that Yoga can make to your life.

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Chair Yoga for Senior Independence

Until a certain age in life, words like dignity, quality of life, and independence seem to be more suitable for descriptions, or reasons, why independent nations had revolutionary wars, than for senior independence. However, for seniors, these words reflect the need to stay the course of independence.

In some cases, our bodies go on existing, while our physical and mental health is slipping away. We need something that will maintain our health, aside from another prescription, with side effects.

Walking offers many good benefits, but some of us have more wear and tear on the knees, hips, and back, than we would like. We gave up running years ago, and walking is fine, but has to be kept in moderation. We should still walk when, or if, it is possible, but you have to listen to your body and walk accordingly.

Chair Yoga offers a safe, low-impact workout, with cross training benefits that will change your life for the best. Flexibility, mobility, bone density, and strength can all be enhanced with the practice of Chair Yoga.

With flexibility comes “new found” mobility, and this contributes to independence. Many Chair Yoga students start a walking program, or use an exercise bike, elliptical trainer, or tread mill, for enhanced cardiovascular work – shortly after seeing the results of flexibility and mobility.

Fall prevention is also covered in most Chair Yoga classes. Most of us realize the potential consequences of falling down, with bones that are not as pliable as they used to be. We all know how devastating a broken hip can be. Therefore, balancing exercises are covered, and students are reminded to work on balancing at home.

At home, the walls, and your kitchen counter, can also be used for sturdy props when working on balancing exercises. You should also be aware that some prescriptions will affect your balance. This is one more good reason to talk to your doctor, or pharmacist, about the side effects of any prescription.

You can also research any prescription’s side effects on the Internet, by going to a search engine and entering the name of the product in your search. This will take you to the manufacturer’s site, and at the bottom, you will see the possible side effects of that particular prescription.

Getting back to flexibility, mobility, and balance – you can make the most of your life by visiting a local Senior Center or Yoga studio to inquire about Chair Yoga classes. Some classes are also a mix of disciplines, and may be labeled as stretch, wellness, or stretch and tone classes.

If possible, try a class to see if it fits your needs. You will start feeling the results in a week or two and make the most of your life, right now. No matter how much time we have left, we all want to remain independent and keep our dignity intact.

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