A few months ago, I watched a social media “Prophetess” go all the way awwwfff to thousands of her followers about how yoga was demonic. That those who practice it were doing the “Devil’s work” for him.
I’m not sure how she got to all of that but, I’ve heard it before. That same judgement from biblical folks is part of the reason why I had strayed so far away from the church and religion. It was words like those that have made me question my faith and the foundation of which I was raised.
In my spiritual journey, I have never quite understood why Christianity includes questioning the faith or behavior of others with discernment disguised as love. I don’t understand why the focus is so much on who one worships vs what type of human being one is. Why Christians can’t just encourage others to be good people who lead with love instead of worshipping objects or beings. But that’s how religion has been, in my experience.
Over the years I had dismissed this fairy tale of Heaven and this bearded white man that seemingly allows bad things to happen all around us but, somehow, we’re supposed to pray to this same person to save us. I’m confused. I have struggled to understand how there can be a heaven if hell is also supposed to exist. In what world can both coexist?
Every time I have had those thoughts over the years or have struggled in a situation, I always found myself on my mat in a position that I never could explain. All I knew was that it felt good and provided a sense of clarity to my emotions and self doubt. Turns out, my mat was my prayer rug the entire time. My mat was always the place I went to for peace and understanding and I never realized who I was becoming every time I got on it to stretch, kneel down or just lay there listening to music.
Over the years, when I had taken a yoga class, I found myself struggling with certain poses due to lack of flexibility or the strength to complete a sequence. However, being quarantined during Covid, throughout all of the depression, doubt and emotions, when yoga classes went online I kept trying.
I tried different classes and styles and when my favorite yogi’s class was canceled for me (https://www.morethanasana.com/links) I decided to dive deeper in my practice and seek more clarity in what I felt in her class. That journey led me to understanding that yoga is more than being flexible and perfecting poses.
Yoga has taught me to take ownership of my life. All the hurt, the pain, the disappointment. To not be in competition with anyone, including myself. The down time of being stuck inside, alone, for so many months showed me how to love myself instead of seeking it outward. That was yoga.
Yoga taught me to let go to all of my mistakes because clinging to them creates more maintenance that I become attached to. Dwelling on the pain that others have inflicted on me had kept me in bondage for so long, I had always felt so small. Letting go of those mistakes or learning to forgive doesn’t mean that I no longer care but that, I now realize carrying that weight kept me from being present in this particular moment. Yoga did that for me.
When I decided to dive deeper into my yoga practice and become a teacher, it wasn’t because I want a new career or to add to my resume. It was because I wanted to understand who I was. I wanted to be free. Finding a class that welcomes black people to be free and unapologetic in such a space was perfect for me.
I’m thankful for this journey and the opportunity to grow in my personal and spiritual awareness. Part of that journey includes less judgement. I could only wish that the “Prophetess” and others in her position to lead people like me would be less judgmental and more understanding that we all have journeys and that our differences do not make us less than but, just enough.
I discovered God on the mat. Through my studying, I was taught that, God’s timing isn’t logical to our minds. I come alive on my mat and the tears I sometimes shed are because I have allowed him (or her) in. One line that stands out for me from one of the books I read these last few months, (The Yamas and Niyamas) says that “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see god at all”
I felt that.
If you’d like to join my yoga and meditation journey and you’re interested in receiving emails to join me on the mat, send me your contact information and I’ll be sure to contact you when I’m ready to hold virtual classes. Virtual because ya know, Covid.