or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Yoga as a Spiritual Practice - Thread for Yoginiis of all faiths and those interested :)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Yoga as a Spiritual Practice - Thread for Yoginiis of all faiths and those interested :)

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I wanted to start a thread and see if there is any interest in talking amongst each other about yoga as a spiritual practice. I posted a thread in Fitness for yoga mamas, and those tend to focus on the physical practice. For me, yoga is becoming more of a spiritual practice with physical benefits. What a plus, huh?

The discussion here is for those of all faiths who practice yoga as a means to not only be physical, but as a way to grow and express your spirituality. Please be mindful as you post and respond.

Let's start with introductions and we'll move on from there if there is interest.

What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?
I have been doing yoga for 10 years off and on. Since June of 2009, I have had a regular yoga practice as my primary form of exercise. I started that with Kundalini yoga, but have found that I would rather practice that with a teacher and none are available. But, I do have a love for it. I switched to Hatha primarily with Vinyasa styles as what is drawing me currently. A yoga studio opened close by, and I go there when I can, but I practice mostly at home. I use Baron Baptiste, Sean Corn, and Shiva Rea... a little Rodney Yee. I practice some on my own as well. Recently I was certified as a prental, postnatal, and labor yoga instructor. That is exciting.

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?
I approached yoga as a physical practice at first, and when I began to explore Kundalini yoga, I immediately noticed how what resulted in my body and awareness was far beyond the physical. I am a Christian by upbringing and continue my faith as a mystic Christian. Yoga soon became a way for me to pray and reach out to God. My mind is never still, and is not even now in shavasana, but the yoga helped me to calm it enough to truly call out and listen for Truth. I heard the "still small voice" during my yoga loud and clear at one point, and have a few times in the year since. I am truly enjoying yoga now as a spiritual practice.

So, I'd love to hear from you and have a community here of yogini mommies.
post #2 of 28
Hi! As soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to write.

What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?
I started yoga in high school from an instructional CD that you put in the computer. Since my family was always leery about "new" things, I did this on my own in my room. This was certainly more of a physical practice and it grew as I attended classes at the gym and then a yoga studio. I still like the studio if I have a chance to go but life gets busy when they have scheduled classes. I have tried a few styles but prefer a Hatha Vinyasa style. I have tried Ashtanga but some of the poses and the speed scared me away I think. I could always go back sometime though. I also have Shiva Rae, Rodney Yee, and more in my collection.

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?
I am pagan. I now practice outside, in the park, first thing in the morning (as long as it isn't raining - then it is indoors). I find that I can ground myself, visualize my chakras and get to know the wonderous body of mine and the subtle differences all over. Chanting is also quite wonderful for me. It brings me in to center. I find that by moving my practice outside, I can pay attention to the trees and birds around me, feel the grass around my mat, and allow my energy to connect with Mother Earth.

Namaste
post #3 of 28
Great thread! Thank you for starting it.

What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?

I prefer yoga that flows from posture to posture - so naturally I gravitate to vinyasa as well as hatha. I like making new combinations and sequences of asanas. I've been practicing off and on since about 2001 and recently in the past almost three years have taken on a more regular practice. It culminated with me going through a teacher training program from September 2009 - May 2010 through a local studio. I've been 'instructing' for over 2 years and "teaching" for just about 6 months.

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?

I went through a catholic educational system from kindergarten through 12th grade. I could not relate to it at all and felt very disillusioned by the whole experience. I explored different types of religions but I found that at the core of all religions was basically the same thing. And that lots of what people take to be the "truth" came from another human being who potentially could have manipulated the truth for his or her personal agendas. Every human being has the potential for fallacy. I didn't like how, for instance, I had to be absolved of my sins by another person (and a man at that) and why I couldn't bypass this "middleman" and have a personal relationship with God. But then I finally realized that I could do this and so I felt like I would never completely relate to any religion which I was coming to peace with but then the more I learned about yoga - moving past asana, which is just a part of the whole thing - the more I realized that this was in sync with what I believed in my heart. That I am a divine being, and what's more, we are ALL divine beings. Yoga means "to yolk" or "union." We are all divine, we are all one. There is no superiority, no heirarchy. Yoga, for me, encompasses all the good things about each and every religion. Which at it's core is LOVE. Yoga helps me to be a better person - better wife, lover, mother, daughter, friend... I end every practice by touching my hands to my forehead - to remember to think kind toughts; to my mouth, so that I may remember to speak kind words; and to my heart, so that I may keep kindness and love first and foremost in my heart. Namaste - the divine in me honors the divine in you!
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for posting mamas. I too believe there are many spiritual walks, and yoga unifies us in many ways. I hope this thread survives. Yoga has become my prayer time. It is how I most simply connect to the "still small voice" to the energy of the Mother Earth, and to what lies inside of me. Thanks for sharing.

Another question is, How do you fit in time for your yoga? Do you need quite or do you practice well in the midst of a busy house?
post #5 of 28
I personally need quiet space. And I like to practice in the morning if I'm taking a personal practice. I have done it with the kids awake - I'll set them up with something to do and sneak away for about an hour to practice. Doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but I try my best.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunamegn View Post
I personally need quiet space. And I like to practice in the morning if I'm taking a personal practice. I have done it with the kids awake - I'll set them up with something to do and sneak away for about an hour to practice. Doesn't happen as often as I'd like, but I try my best.
Yeah, I prefer quiet too. But, my littles are light sleepers and it is hard for me to get up before them. I'm trying to learn how to reach that space with them awake and around me. It is so hard. My mind is so busy with things of no importance. However, I feel like it is a good practice because I think that if I can find "yoga" throughout my day, then I will be a more mindful mother. That is something I'm working on too, and I think it is a spiritual journey. I'm learning to not fly by the seat of my pants and to actually stop and experience the presence. God gave me the mantra - "Be still and know that I am God." quite awhile ago. Just when I think I understand what that truly means, I realize I'm still relying on the ego self and over efforting my way through life. Sometimes I can feel so silly and guilty with it. But, it is a practice afterall.
post #7 of 28
What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?

I practice an intuitive, free form vinyasa style usually, though sometimes i just do a restorative practice or what have you.

i also practice contemplation (contemplative prayer) and meditation.

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?

i've been doing it since i was a child; it was just a part of my life growing up. i didn't even realize it was a something until i was 14 and a teacher at our school offered a yoga class to us. i went to it, and i was like "oh! we've been doing yoga!"

so, to an extent, it was just a normal part of family life for me, and also then a part of spiritual life as well.

i started contemplation and meditation in earnest around age 11/12.

How do you fit in time for your yoga? Do you need quite or do you practice well in the midst of a busy house?

It's tough these days between the baby and running our own business, but i usually get about 40-60 minutes to do my thing.

typically, asana practice is done with my son--that's easy. meditation and contemplation are harder, so it's usually broken up throughout the day, and i tend to do those two when he naps or is otherwise asleep.
post #8 of 28
So glad to be here

What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?

I'm a newbie. I started last fall and took the past several months off due to a hectic schedule and laziness. I'm out of that funk though and getting back in the swing of things. Hatha is my favorite, I find that vinyasa moves too quickly for me right now. On occasion I go to a gentle yoga class with guided meditation. I've been to hot yoga once (I believe that's bikram, no?) and enjoyed it, but won't be going any time soon...it's been a hot summer!

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?

It was actually very interesting! I'd considered myself a questioning agnostic for some time, very opposed to organized religion. I started yoga around the same time I started learning about Buddhism, and they both really spoke to me. I consider my beliefs more Buddhist than anything (I do not believe in a supreme god, I do believe we are all connected and divine) so yoga helps me spiritually and has since the beginning. I love how connected I feel to my fellow classmates. I always say that people annoy me by going on about how relaxing yoga is...it's not! It's hard work for my body because I give it my all. The "relaxing" comes in because I am 100% focused on the here and now (any myself). Savasana is probably where I feel the most spiritual impact though. Nothing in the world compares to the feeling, as you ladies know!

How do you fit in time for your yoga? Do you need quite or do you practice well in the midst of a busy house?

To be honest, I don't really have the time. I make it by slacking on other things, like cleaning or studying. However, I feel like I'm much more efficient after a yoga practice. I can take an hour to go to yoga class and then study for an hour and learn the material better than if I'd just set aside two hours to study.

I hope this thread continues to grow! I discovered yoga, started exploring Buddhism and became a vegetarian all within a month and it has absolutely transformed my life, something the mainstream just doesn't get!
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Welcome!

zoebird - That's awesome that asana is simple for you with your little one about. I know that day will come for me, but right now, it is difficult. Doesn't chaturanga to updog doesn't flow too well when you have a 2 year old running under the bridge of your downdog. I'm so glad you joined us.

KaylaBeanie - Thanks for joining us! I hope the thread continues on too. Those are all big changes in such a short time. I'm so glad you have found a place where you are comfortable.

That brings me to another question.
Is diet a part of your spirituality and is it influenced by yoga?
I used to be a vegetarian before I practiced yoga seriously. I just didn't enjoy eating meat. When I started nursing DD1, I began craving steaks. I went on through a year of nursing, and DH and I broke down one day and ate some chicken. We began eating meat after that as it felt right for us. Now, we eat a traditional foods diet (Appalachia inspired) and homestead. Our meat still mostly comes from the grocery, but we choose as much as we can meat from ethical farms. We also eat meat that was hunted by my brother. I am part Cherokee, and being Appalachian too, hunting is a deep part of my culture. Some native Americans believed that if you were able to kill an animal in a hunt, then it laid down its life for you. We are all interdependent. I think of it that way too. Though, I know farmed animals are not hunted, and don't have an option, but I still believe that we are all here to serve one another. I definitely am supportive of anyone's diet, as long as it feels right for them.
post #10 of 28
vegetarianism is a saucha (purity) practice, but within the tradition, it's really only meant among sunyasis (renunciants). householders, warrior classes, people who were sick and needed certain foods to live, and a variety of other folks could eat meat without any moral problem.

throughout india and the vedic cultures, the diets change dramatically based on food availbility--some very strictly vegetarian (eg, vegan), and others including meat from a variety of sources.

that said, i still think vegetarianism is a valuable practice.

that said, when pregnant and since nursing, i also occasionally eat meat (based on cravings). i was vegan for 5 years, vegetarian for 6.
post #11 of 28
I find I have trouble doing my practice with my little one around. I can do it in the morning or when she naps. There are a few times when she is happy doing her own thing and I can practice, but it is far and few between it feels like.

I got a book called "Itsy Bitsy Yoga" and it has yoga 'postures' for newborns to toddlerhood. We have done some of those together. There is an introduction to the breath (blowing on a napkin/kleenex/flower) and it is based on developmental stages and not age, which was important for me. She loved it but I still have to get the toddler book. Anyone else introduce yoga with their young ones (if they are interested)?
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have through DVD and some on my own. My youngest really likes it in short spurts, but my oldest doesn't so much. She doesn't care for being "active" in general though. However, she will get out my mat at times and pretend yoga on her own. She'll do about a 20 minute set of poses she knows and those she makes up.
Marsha Wenig has some good videos for little yogis. Snatam Kaur also made one that is for sale at Spirit Voyage. It's a little long for my girls, though. Almost an hour and a half.
post #13 of 28
What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?
I grew up practicing yoga with my mama since I was about 9 or 10. I have done most styles and really enjoy all of them at one time or another, though a flowing hatha style is what i gravitate to if I am on my own. I have dvds at home of Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rae, Rodney Yee, and I grew up using the series with Rodney Yee, Tammilee Webb and the like. (wow, 20 years of a practice, this year!)
Right now my physical practice is in a low, nonexistent spot. I haven't managed to build a stong at home practice in the midst of my kids. I had a membership at the local Y which was an absolute treasure trove of yoga classes. But when I lost my job this spring I had to let it go. (also, my 3 year old had become really resistant to staying with the child care, and we were going into summer and could swim at moms pool, etc etc) I hope to reapply for financial aid again in the fall once I am sure my finances could handle it, and see if my little one can manage.
Between all that, and a crazy summer, my physical practice has been nil. I have been intermittently focusing on a Primal fitness style as well, which is sometimes more doable with the kids. (lift heavy things! throw them! run to pick them up, throw again! dissolve into piled heap of exhaustion after 3 minutes!)
Spiritual side lately has been in a holdi8ng pattern, which is ok for right now. We have had work, vacations, kids visitation. I feel like I am just getting through the craziness and can focus on me a bit more c9oming up soon. Which is fine, in the past I would be stressing about not "finding enough perfect balance at all times" and now I kind of like just going with the flow.

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?
Growing up in a conservative christian household, yoga was strictly physical. And even then, it was looked down upon by others sometimes. It wasn't until I was a teen that I started seeing the spiritual in yoga as a good thing. Then it wasn't until I left Christianity and the church that I started really feeling like yoga was a part of my spiritual life. I now don't really use labels for my faith, but I fall under the pagan umbrella. I like how yoga teaches us to quiet ourselves, love others, love ourselves, and accept others for who they are. Something that, i think is at the core of religions in general, but gets messed up by the "organized religion" part.

Oh, and Marsha Wenig is lovely. She was a friend of my moms when I was a kid. one of the little boys on the yoga kids dvd was another friend, and I babysat him. <3 He's in college now, probably... oy.
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
My mind is never still (lately) not even a minute. Shavasana is not still. Asana is a little better. I cannot meditate or focus for pranayama. I think sometimes part of our spiritual lives and being healthy requires expressing the frustrations. I think when we have no place to do that, that is when we become stagnant. Just going through the motions. I know this is in part related to some health problems I've been having, and I am working on those. But, there is part of me that wishes it were otherwise. I know every part of our journey is meaningful. I know every practice can't be the perfect situation, or go smoothly. But, I still wish. Maybe it is ego. Ego wanting to say... oh now that was awesome... you did it... you achieved something. Just being still... still... I want to be still.
post #15 of 28
The physical practice of yoga - the exercises we associate with Shiva Rea, Kathy Smith, Rainbeau Mars - it is just one small facet of Yoga. I've been doing physical yoga for about 20 years. I started with hatha but I'd now say my true love is kundalini yoga. I have attended classes in the past but prefer my private practice. I need to get instruction however - I am worried I'm not doing my headstands, plough and camel poses properly!

How'd the yoga become a spiritual practice for me? The very first time I did a yoga 'workout', I did the warrior pose and ran my hands through what felt like invisible energy field surrounding my body. I also would feel energy (almost like a shock) rippling through my arms and body. I felt very much at peace during my yoga routines. I knew that the practice was good for me.

So years later, when I still feel a trememendous amount of powerful energy surging around me and through me when doing the poses. Sometimes when I'm doing kundalini yoga, I literally am vibrating with energy.

I know there is more to yoga poses that the physical eye.

I have done a lot of reading about yogic philosophy. Most recently I read

How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali which I enjoyed.

http://www.amazon.com/How-Know-God-A.../dp/0874810418

I do believe that yoga poses, yogic diet and way of thinking - it all directs one to God.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Tuesday - I too love Kundalini yoga. But, there are no teachers close to me and I hurt myself a few times, which has led me to discontinue that as a main focus until I have a teacher available. I still do a Maya Fiennes DVD from time to time. Kundalini is such a beautiful practice.

Question, Tuesday... So, would you say that the yogic diet is essential to one's spiritual practice of yoga? What other aspects/practices do you feel crucial to yoga as spirituality?

I ventured to practice on my own today and had a lovely asana practice and meditation. I went at my own pace. Followed my own breathing. Did what asana felt right at the time for the most part. Set an intention for practice. Listened to Snatam Kaur's Grace, and felt Grace through and through. Peace has been with me since. It's amazing how things change within from day to day. It really is. One day you can feel so separated and then the next closer than hands and feet.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post
That brings me to another question.
Is diet a part of your spirituality and is it influenced by yoga?
This is something that I have been struggling with since I do believe that eating meat goes against ahimsa. However, I have been eating it. I don't buy it to cook at my home but I'll eat it out or if it's prepared by someone else. I was a strict vegetarian up until my last pregnancy and craved meat so badly that I caved - at the same time I do believe in listening to one's body. Since that time I've had a hard time going back to being the strict vegetarian that I was.
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunamegn View Post
This is something that I have been struggling with since I do believe that eating meat goes against ahimsa. However, I have been eating it. I don't buy it to cook at my home but I'll eat it out or if it's prepared by someone else. I was a strict vegetarian up until my last pregnancy and craved meat so badly that I caved - at the same time I do believe in listening to one's body. Since that time I've had a hard time going back to being the strict vegetarian that I was.
See I do too, for the most part. I craved meat while breastfeeding and went back to eating meat after 4/5 years being a vegetarian. I haven't felt guilt eating meat that is raised properly or hunted. I don't feel it is bad for my body. I have lost 100 pounds eating a TF diet. It's a part of my culture. Spiritually, I'm not at the point where I feel the need to give it up again. Neither from a health standpoint.
post #19 of 28
yup! i was vegetarian for about 10-11 years, vegan for 6 of those years, but during the pregnancy and since, i have had times where i crave meat, and so i ate it.

for me, it's more complex than whether or not killing animals for food is contrary to ahimsa. i actually see "killing animals as food" to be rather amoral, depending upon so many contextual factors. it becomes a moral issue--to me--when it is unnecessary, or done in unnecessarily cruel ways. otherwise, killing animals for food has always been with us, as a species, and is--in that way-- just as "moral" or "amoral" as it is for a bear (another omnivore).

that being said, i do feel that if one can be vegetarian and healthy and satisfied, it is a beneficial practice for both ahimsic and sauchic reasons.

but, i currently do not consider myself vegetarian, even though i only eat meat about 1-3 times per month on average.
post #20 of 28
What sort of yoga do you do and for how long have you done it?
I LOVE yoga, and have tried a few types, and LOVE Kundalini the best. Hatha is so beautiful, too. It was first introduced to me in high school, at the age of 16. I started practicing regularly at 20. When I had my first baby, at 22, my practice got set to the back burner! I still crave it all the time, and LOVE sharing it with my boys!

How did yoga become a spiritual practice for you?
I am an inherently spiritual person, and I see the spiritual connection in everything. Yoga began as a way to connect with my spiritual self, and the spiritual world. I LOVE this thread!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Spirituality
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Yoga as a Spiritual Practice - Thread for Yoginiis of all faiths and those interested :)