Listen: Duncan Robinson chats with Christian Yoga practitioner Alyssa Mak.
I had a chance to sit down with Alyssa Mak, a blogger and practicitioner of Christian yoga.
Alyssa is the daughter of a pastor and is passionate about her faith. She has also been on quite the journey with her understanding of yoga, and embraces it as a great way to connect with God.
Yoga seems to be one of those hot topics in Christian faith where there doesn’t seem to be a lot of clarity with where people should land. Alyssa has seen this first-hand.
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When she first announced to her Christian friends she was taking up yoga, she received a slew of information about why that was the wrong decision. On examining the evidence she initially made the decision to transition into Pilates, which seemed far less confrontational with her faith.
“I heard a lot of Christian friends sending me articles and telling me, ‘be careful and don’t do yoga.’ It’s been a really up and down journey for me,” she said. “I was really into fitness and had my heart set on being a yoga teacher. But because of everyone’s feedback to me I decided not to take it up [at the time] and took up Pilates.”
But the story doesn’t stop there.
The Persistent Call of God
Alyssa kept hearing the call of God to get back into Yoga. After a few failed attempts she came across a Christian yoga program that the exercise, breathing and meditation elements of yoga, but adapted for a Christian perspective.
It’s that adaptation that seems to be the key to Alyssa’s experience of yoga.
“Yoga is over 5000 years old, and was originally adapted to Hindu religious practices, after it’s inception for the many health benefits it provides,” she said.
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Upon examining the history of yoga, Alyssa discovered that it was in existence before Hindu practices—so now, she simply takes the key elements of yoga and incorporates it into faith-based practice.
“We all should want to declutter our minds and fill it up with the things of Jesus,” Alyssa said. ”Holy Yoga allows us a way to do that, while getting fit at the same time.“
The idea of meditation is a Christian one. Christ-centred Yoga allows us a path to do this and gain flexibility and exercise, says Alyssa, while filling our minds with Christian scripture and positive thoughts of God.
She adds that fasting is a similar concept; as Christians we fast and pray, by emptying ourselves we create ‘space’ to fill ourselves up with God.
Many believers struggle to make time for daily devotions. Christian Yoga helps solve this problem. For Alyssa, it has helped her to combine some of her favourite pastimes, both staying healthy and spending time with God, and yoga becomes a time of daily devotions.
To find out more check out Alyssa’s website www.gracexstrength.com or listen to the full interview above.