My Faith, My Yoga
I am not the most qualified individual to talk about yoga and its spiritual path. I haven’t read the Vedas, the Upanishads, or had an enlightening experience. I’ve read the Gita, but I can’t quote from it word for word. I can’t tell you the secrets of life or what it feels like to be in the palm of God’s hand.
What I can tell you is that I, like so many of us, am on a spiritual journey. Clearly this looks different for everyone.
Mine started in the Midwest in a God-fearing family that went to church most Sundays. I liked it well enough, even read the bible on my own, and boy have I prayed.
But I always had questions.
Why is one religion (in my case, Christianity) better than another? Why can’t it include gay people? How can millions of people (Hindus, Buddhists, Islamists, etc.) be wrong? Why is there so much hate and exclusion surrounding spirituality? Why can’t we all be right?
It’s this exclusion that set me off of on a spiritual path for a long time. I have a scientific mind and always yearned for a systematic approach that would lead me to the answers I was digging for. I simply couldn’t accept something just because someone told me it was the truth. I needed proof, of a sort, even if was just being inwardly moved, and too often I saw fear being used as a motivator for salvation.
This is my truth. Yoga was my systematic approach. It is unity. It is all-inclusive, and it is practiced through living the yamas and niyamas, meditation, and yes, even asana.
I don’t need to go to Church every Sunday to be with God. I am with God every day on my mat. We connect and I am inspired. I express devotion with every movement, every breath, every interaction and every relationship. I don’t need to ask for forgiveness or pray for patience or love. I simply need to open my self to it. And it rains down on me. I can call on my higher Self, which has a tangible place in my heart, when I need to draw on things like patience and kindness and forgiveness.
The biggest revelation, and the most inspiring, is that it truly is all about love. The God of my Midwestern years seemed so much about vengeance and fire, while my perception now is all about love—pure, radiating love.
It is all the same: your God, my God, their God. It’s all the same universal spirit. It may manifest for you as a Lutheran God, with Jesus as his son that lives in your heart. For me, it may be radiating love and energy, with my Self that lives in my heart. See the common thread? It’s all the same, and beautiful. And guess what? We all get to be right.
Kristin Henningsen is a Yogini Herbalist, integrating herbal medicine and yoga therapeutics for over 10 years. When not practicing, healing, or teaching, she writes, mothers and tries to find inspiration in all the little moments in between. Find her at www.banyanmoonbotanicals.com.
Editor: Edith Lazenby
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