I was born and raised in a strict Catholic family—church on Sundays, baptisms, rosaries, choir, and Catholic school. Holidays were filled with tradition and church; we talked about the Bible, about Jesus, and we celebrated the days of the saints. Our lives surrounded our faith.
I was raised with these core values—values that will remain in me for life. I am grateful I have these traditions to turn to and a strong belief in something greater than myself. When times are tough, I trust and pray.
I have a cross above my front door and my palms blessed every Easter.
But, as I became an adult, I grew, I explored, and I became curious.
I wanted to learn about the world, about cultures, and about myself.
Also during that time, I was unhappy and lost. I needed answers and change. I prayed, pleaded, and bargained with my God, but life remained consistent, and my depression grew deeper.
Then I stumbled into the love of my life: yoga.
Yoga taught me a way of life promoting balance, inner peace, living in the moment, and utter bliss.
Yoga helped quiet the chatter that constantly flooded my mind.
Yoga helped me overcome the roadblocks I was facing and purge the negatives from my life.
Yoga showed me that our thoughts become our reality, that I was creating the life I was running from, and there was another way.
Yoga saved me.
My mat is my bubble, a place where nothing can penetrate, where I am in the moment. The to-do list does not matter, the past is forgotten, and the future is of no concern.
The moment just is.
Yoga is not a cult.
Yoga is not a religion.
Yoga is a balanced way of life—a life of peace and harmony. It’s a way of loving and accepting yourself just the way you are.
Yoga is calm, quiet, and mindful; it synchronizes your mind and body and teaches you how to listen to yourself.
Finding yoga does not mean I need to give up my Catholic beliefs and traditions.
Both can coexist within me and complement one another.
There is a lot of talk about the battle to suppress yoga from Catholics. I myself have been in these debates on numerous occasions. Instead of pointing fingers, and telling others one way of life is superior to the next, let’s learn from all the wisdom traditions of the world, and create a situation that is best for all of us.
Instead of rejecting one lifestyle over the other, instead of having to choose, let’s look at the similarities between yoga and Catholicism, and how they complement one another.
>> Prayer vs. meditation: At their cores, both are about turning inward and letting go to a higher power, or just in general.
>> The fundamentals of each are: peace, love, joy, and happiness.
>> The church teaches us to believe in giving back and doing good, similar to the idea of karma.
>> When you walk into a church or a studio, you feel the energy, the peace, and the positivity.
>> Many other aspects seem similar: malas and the rosary, prayers and mantras, the 12 apostles and the 12 signs of the zodiac, and so on.
Yoga and Catholicism are truly very similar. It doesn’t matter if you call your higher power God, the Universe, Buddha, your higher self, or any other verbiage. When you let go and let God, miracles, blessings, and life unfolds the way it was intended for you.
Yoga is the opposite of the strange belief held by some that yoga is Satanic and involves some kind of dark magic. Yoga is peace, harmony, and love. My biggest tip for those practising yoga and staying true to their Catholic roots, is to just do you. You know the truth, and you know what is best for you.
No one else can make that judgment for you. There is no need to preach or correct anyone; instead, educate and inspire. Let them see what you are doing and how you are balancing both lifestyles. Then let them learn from you. Knowledge is power; let’s take this as an opportunity to learn from one another and grow. There is no right or wrong—just an opportunity to become better than we were yesterday.
The moral being is that both traditions ask us to surrender—surrender our need to control, and to let it be.
So, let’s do just that.
Let’s let it go.
I am a yogi; I am Catholic; I am at peace.
Author: Dayna Langlois
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina