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Beginners Guide to Christian Yoga

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a tool that helps us connect with ourselves and with God. There’s something powerful that happens when we commit to just being present on our yoga mats, focused on each inhale and exhale, surrendered in each pose. As we move and breathe, we make more space in our bodies and hearts to hear from God. The running to-do list and bubbling anxieties take a back seat to the gentle invitation to “be still and know.”

“Be still and know that I am God.” {Psalm 46:10}

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means union. When we step on our yoga mats, we invite God to draw our hearts closer to His, to bring healing and wholeness to our broken places, and to show us the way to authentic freedom. Each yoga class is made up of these three elements: Breathe, Asana (pose), and Meditation.

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Breath

Breath is the fundamental part of any yoga practice. Each practice begins with a few minutes of focused attention on inhaling and exhaling, fully and deeply. We rely on our breath to guide us through difficult poses and we remind ourselves to stay connected to it when we start feeling overwhelmed or distracted.

“For the Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” {Job 33:4}

In the Bible, the same word for breath is the same word as Spirit. When God breathed life into Adam and Eve, he breathed his Spirit into them. When we connect with our breath, we have the opportunity to connect with the Spirit, to what God is doing and speaking in this moment, right here, right now. 

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Asana

Asana is a Sanskrit word that means “pose” and refers to the physical practice of yoga. The original names of yoga poses are in Sanskrit and all end in “asana,” for example, Savasana (Corpse Pose), Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), etc. We string a series of these poses together to create a well-rounded practice that strengthens, stretches, tones, lengthens, and relaxes our muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue.

People say they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. That’s like saying, they can’t cook dinner because they’re not a chef at a 5-star restaurant. The more you practice yoga, the more flexible (and strong and mindful and transformed) you’ll become.

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Meditation

All this moving and breathing sets us up for the real treasure – meditation. It’s hard to be still and meditate on Truth when our mind is racing and our body is restless. So we stretch and we strengthen, we breathe into the tight spaces and we make more room so that we can sit for a few minutes and just be still with God.

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” {Exodus 14:14}

Meditation can be one of the most challenging parts of a yoga practice, but it’s where the real deep heart work can happen. We close our eyes and sit with whatever comes up. Sometimes that looks like turning over a verse or a promise from God in our minds, and sometimes that looks like asking him to reveal what’s going on deep inside and asking for forgiveness, healing, and restoration. It’s that moment of drawing close to him as he draws close to us. Yoga, much like our faith, is an inside job.


Enjoy this absolute beginner’s level yoga video that will introduce you to yoga with Jesus at the center!