- By Indu Shanmugam
- Published 12/8/2007
Indu Shanmugam is a 20-something, college student from Oregon, USA. She is majoring in English literature and language. She also studied Theology for a short period. She wants to be a teacher. As a literature enthusiast, she enjoys literature of all types and from writers of various backgrounds from the classics, French realists, Christian writings like C.S Lewis and South Asian literature. As for her own writings, "I am still trying to find and develop my own voice." She sees the art of the written word as a way to speak about Christ and explore truth. Before she met Jesus Christ, she has been searching for the meaning of life through experimentation of other religions, philosophies and ideas. At the age of 17, she accepted Christ after a powerful encounter with God through a miracle. God's presence and deep truths in the Bible fuel her creativity. She is involved in church activities and has a love for the church and would like to see every believer grow, become closer to God and live fruitfully. She loves traveling, sipping bubble teas, theatre, music, films and hanging out with friends and has a weakness for cheesecake.
While I am doing yoga, I focus on the beauties and promises of God's kingdom. Or for example while I am doing strengthening poses or warrior poses, I mediate and picture myself as a spiritual warrior of God that stands up for Him and about being an emissary for Jesus. Or if it's a soft pose, I think about surrendering and submitting it all to Jesus. Or I just simply praise my wonderful Jesus that I adore.
The reason why I chose yoga is because I tend to be a very anxious person and my body gets stiff and tight, which makes it harder for me to relax and concentrate. I get back pain, stomach upset, stiffness and migraines. It's making such a difference in both my mind and body. I have never felt so relaxed and I'm not getting migraines as much. I lost a lot of weight and getting a flatter tummy and more toned arms, that I'm getting compliments and others are asking me if I am doing something.
So, some people freak out because it's supposedly demonic. I appreciate it when someone is concerned about my spiritual life because he cares about my well-being. However, I can't stand snobbish, holier-than-thou attitudes of trying to prove to me that they are a much better Christian. That's legalism and nobody has a right to judge another believer for her choices. I am a mature believer and a grown woman. I am not stupid. I did my research, prayed and decided it's really up to personal conviction and own relationship with God. I will respect another believer's choice to not want to do yoga but I ask the same for myself.
First of all, while I am doing yoga, I speak Bible scriptures and pray in the name of Jesus. His name is the most powerful name in the world and would make any demon shudder with fear. So how can I be influenced by that if I am a true spirit-filled Christian praying in Jesus' name? If that's the implication, then is our God not that strong? God in his infinite wisdom can tell the difference between a compromising Christian and a Christian sincerely seeking God (through yoga or non-traditional ways of devotion).
However, I refuse to take yoga classes with certain non-Christian instructors. My college has a yoga club and I thought I'd try it. I walked out quietly because the instructor was playing Hindu bhajans during class. I found out that I prefer doing it on my own. Maybe later, I could start a group of Christian yoga with the purpose of worshipping God and getting fit.
I look forward to yoga because not only is it an exercise but it's also my quiet time with God. My yoga is a time of "being still and knowing God." It's when I put everything aside and fill myself with God thoughts.