Monday, October 12, 2015

How Yoga Found Me, Pt 1



When I first dipped my toes into the yoga pool seven years ago, I was in my early 40s and had been steeped in conservative Christianity for quite a while. Many of my pew mates contended that there was no way to reconcile the wide gulf between “true” Christianity and the Eastern mysticism surrounding yoga (yes, it had come up in conversation).


I’ve not been one to go along with crowd mentality for very long, and I found myself drawn (for some unexplainable reason) to a yoga studio in the city where I was living at the time.  It was in a gritty part of town. The windows were cracked, the wooden floors unfinished, and the place smelled of the old, tired residues left behind by a plethora of former businesses housed within its structure. I felt as if I’d come home. Sometimes, you simply have to trust your gut.

Sure, some of the terminology was foreign and I wasn’t quiet sure what to make of the prayer flags strung about the room, but the atmosphere – the feel of the place and the feel of my practice on my mat – drew me like very few things have. I’d tried “Christian Yoga,” taught by the wife of one of the deacons at our church at a nearby country club. She attempted to make the names for yoga poses more acceptable by naming them after characters in the Bible, removing all Sanskrit and any vestige of non-Westernness but it felt awkward, forced, and club-like. I couldn’t do it.

Is faith so precarious that failing to sterilize our surroundings can cause it to be suddenly whisked away?

Sometimes we try to dress things up in a particular manner, creating a particular fa├žade in hopes of becoming acceptable with a crowd that might not be very accepting otherwise. Is that deceptive? Is it disingenuine? What’s the point of the altered version, anyway?


Elly Haddad is a healthy life-style coordinator, combining her certifications as an Integrative Nutrition Coach and yoga instructor. She's the owner of Elemental Fit and founder of The NashWell Group, both based in Nashville, TN. She helps individuals and groups understand the important influence that diet & lifestyle have on health, happiness, and overall wellbeing. Elly is also a freelance writer and public speaker, conducting workshops and seminars throughout the midwest and southeastern US. She can be contacted directly via email here

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