[Pardon the lack of hyperlinks in this post…I could not get my linking toggle switch to work in WordPress…not sure why…but I feel compelled and impressed to get this post public today.]
Just some thoughts which reverberate in my head about yoga. I typed the word that way in the title, because I have met individuals who are adamantly against it….even to the point of dogmatically (and quite forcefully) stating that the actual postures of yoga are dangerous, opening the exerciser up to satanic influence. I do not buy this. I do believe there is benefit in yoga, in that stretching and strengthening core muscles is beneficial to health. It is low impact, for those whose age or physical condition prohibit them from more strenuous exercise. The lymphatic system does not clear itself from toxins except by physical movement, and this is an excellent way to achieve that. It also teaches you to think about how you are using your body…something most humans are not good at, except when abilities are taken from us through a strained muscle, a broken bone, or some other malady. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and are merely lent to us by our Creator as tools…so it behooves us to take good care of them. Yoga is also a quiet means of exercise, unlike Zumba, Jazzercize, et al and their associated ruckus. This allows one to focus in thought.
There is the danger, though. Proponents of eastern religion will instruct that there must be an “emptying of the mind” in order to meditate properly. Mercy. From a biblical standpoint, there could be nothing further from the truth.
There is one sure guarantee we have obtained from Adam’s fall…that is, we are all flawed creatures, and,
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jer. 17:9
Without scriptural renewal, our minds are nothing better than a car that is severely out of alignment. Take your hands off the wheel, and you will find yourself in the ditch. So, why would anyone willingly want to do this??
What we find in scripture regarding meditation, is that the meaning of the word has to do with what our mind does with what we put into it. We renew our minds (not like renewing a library book, where we are merely checking out the same material over again…this is a re-making) by removing what ought not to be there, and replacing it with what should be there. Here is a helpful resource regarding putting off and putting on: http://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/putoffon.cfm
I can testify to the fact that nothing…NOTHING…calms the heart of a believer like the Word of God. In my younger years, I had terrible battles with hormonal imbalance and depression. There were times that I was inconsolable, in spite of my dear husband’s attempts to calm my heart. Finally, he pulled out our old cassettes of Alexander Scourby reading the scripture. As I lay on the bed in the dark, I immediately felt a peace wash over me. The Word is alive, and it is the choice weapon (that’s what a “two-edged sword” was, back in the day) against the propensities of my own deceitful heart. Our minds must be instructed, not left to their own devices.
If you’d like some additional resources on the topic of biblical meditation, here are a few:
- http://www.quietinganoisysoul.com/downloads/appendix-articles/turn-off-stress-response.pdf ( highly recommend this resource by my friend Dr. Jim Berg, which is part of his material, Quieting a Noisy Soul (http://www.quietinganoisysoul.com/). It discusses the biblical approach to stress, and relaxation exercises).
- http://www.bjupress.com/product/129783 (Scriptural meditations…scripture set to softly playing hymns)
- http://www.bjupress.com/product/188318 (another CD of scripture meditations…wonderful)
- http://www.quietinganoisysoul.com/downloads/memory-cards.pdf (some memory cards structured specifically for use in panic attacks)