Strength, flexibility and balance are all critical for dancers who want to improve their technique without risking injury. In fact, they are all invaluable to lifelong health. Many people, Christians included, are looking to Yoga to gain these benefits.
Years ago, I took yoga, with the mindset, “I’m here for the physical benefits and not the spirituality.” I put on my Jesus filter when I walked into the studio. The physical benefits I experienced were undeniable. My balance improved. My posture improved. I grew stronger and more flexible. And I felt better physically. Honestly, it helped me prepare for natural child birth more than any class I took at the hospital. I was grateful for that.
But I always had nagging questions in my mind about engaging in yoga, because of its roots in eastern religion. And as a runner and dancer, I found my workout plate too full to take another yoga class, so I never developed a regular practice of yoga.
Several years ago, as I found mentors in worship dance, those I respected the most warned me to stay away from yoga unequivocally. The reasons they described resonated with the unease I had felt in my spirit. So, I decided to listen to their warnings and make a decision to purposely (not just because I didn’t have time) skip yoga, even “Christian yoga” (by the way, this article is not a case against Christian yoga, just an attempt to tell my story). For me, it was a “When in doubt, leave it out.”
Still, I remembered how great I felt physically during the two seasons in my life when I took yoga classes and wished I could have the physical benefits without the spiritual conflict. I do believe that developing proper body alignment has benefits that those ripple out into all areas of our health.
So, last year, as part of my Dancing for Him worship dance teaching training, I discovered, the Stretch and Adoration and Balance and Stretch DVDs by Lynn Hayden. Both of them contained challenging workouts that I began using regularly and found myself craving. Again, my balance improved. My posture improved. I grew stronger and more flexible. And I felt better physically.
These benefits came without the nagging doubts that I felt when I practiced yoga. Just the opposite. The time I spent exercising also was a time of worship, a time that drew me closer to the Lord. So, instead of needing to put on a spiritual filter to do my workout, I was able to open my heart and mind as well as to engage my body.
This August, I discovered Pastor Lynn’s third DVD, Strength and Balance. This DVD is more advanced than the other two, challenging the dancer to greater exercise of flexibility and strength. It ends with a sweet time of relaxation and the chance to be prayed over by Pastor Lynn. It’s an awesome way to start the day.
So, I’m sharing this with you, hoping it will be helpful to you. And I’ve got a 4 minute video tutorial in which I teach one of the concepts from the Strength and Balance DVD. This will give you an idea of what you can expect from the DVD. If it feels too advanced to you, do check out the Strength and Adoration or Balance and Stretch DVDs. In fact, I’ve got short tutorials from each of them too. You can find them here: Balance and Stretch tutorial Stretch and Adoration Tutorial.
Take a minute to share in the comments:
How do you develop strength, flexibility and balance?
What benefits have you noticed in your dance from developing those?
If you have ever wrestled with whether to use yoga, as a Christian, please share where you landed and why. Please do so with gentleness and respect.
Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of your life.