With all of the noise going on in the world pulling us a million different ways, it’s easy to wonder what God’s path is for us. When we don’t take time to be still and listen to God, it’s easy to end up on a path that He didn’t intend for us.
There’s that little voice, that feeling inside that’s telling us something’s not right. Some say it’s conscience. But I believe it’s the Holy Spirit, either guiding us into a good situation onto the right path, or off of the wrong one. This recently happened to me, but it took me a while to realize what was happening.
It started with a dream I had for myself for years and the opportunity came to finally make it come true…
Have you ever wanted something SO bad? You had a passion for it. You’ve dreamed it, envisioned it. You had even convinced yourself that this was God’s plan for you, to later find out that this wasn’t what God wanted for you at all, that maybe you should have consulted with Him first before jumping into what you thought was the right path?
This was my experience. Back in the fall, I was presented the opportunity to take a yoga teacher training course. I had always wanted to teach yoga (as I had practiced it for many years and loved the health benefits and relaxation aspect of it) and felt like it was meant for me to take this course. I was still working 40 hours a week at the time and taking care of my two little ones as well, and this class would be every three to four weeks – all weekend long, from Friday – Sunday. It was going to be exhaustive along with everything else I had going on in my life, but I felt like the opportunity was there, and I shouldn’t turn it down. So I took the opportunity…
I didn’t pray about it to see if this is what God wanted for me. I didn’t wait patiently to seek His will. I, instead, jumped onto the opportunity because the class was going to start soon and I was afraid it would be sold out if I didn’t say “yes” ASAP. So I did. It was expensive ($2550), but I would be making the money back quickly after I got certified to teach.
As soon as people I knew found out I had planned to become a yoga teacher, they were offering me places to teach, asking when I would be starting to teach and getting very excited. It was obvious that my career as a yoga instructor was going to take off.
The first weekend of the course brought up some uneasiness for me. Although I had been practicing yoga for about seven years before I signed up for the course, I thought yoga was used in India simply as a form of exercise, meditation and relaxation. I didn’t know that it actually stems from Hinduism. I found this out in the first course weekend when we started learning the true meaning of the word “om” (it’s a means to go beyond a person’s “consciousness” and eventually past their “unconsciousness”) among learning some other aspects of the history of yoga.
So I went home, and I started doing a little research on the background of yoga. The actual definition of the word “yoga” is to “yoke” or “unite.” Yoga’s soul purpose in Hinduism is used to “unite one’s self with their god”. So I decided to research a little more. I started reading about the Christian view of yoga and was now in a state of confusion and uneasiness. Since the true purpose of yoga stems from the Hindus’ way of seeking one with the “divine” or their god, it is very conflicting with Christianity, since the only way to God is through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins.
Concerned, I called my instructor and she informed me that it’s “a philosophy, not a religion.” (As I later did more praying and research about whether this was right for me, I came across this verse in Colossians: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”). I also came across this article on www.gotquestions.org, a legit Christian website: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-yoga.html. I was so confused. I prayed, got the same uneasy feeling, but I didn’t want to quit. I had paid $2550 and was pretty much guaranteed clients. This was right for me, wasn’t it?
In the meantime, I still felt a little uneasy, but I thought “it’s not a religion, so I’m fine. In fact, I will use this as an opportunity to spread God’s Word to others, and I’ll teach a Christian yoga class.” Although it was a Hindu “philosophy”, I had planned to ignore the Hindu aspects of it and teach it with a Christian spin. I’ll be using it to spread God’s Word, so how could He not want this for me?
What I didn’t know is that although this sounded good to me, it wasn’t part of God’s plan for me, and I was taking MY plan that I wanted and trying to make it fit into His plan.
When one practices the spiritual aspect of yoga, it focuses on looking inward, when the Bible clearly states, we are to keep our focus outward on Christ alone (Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!). When we start looking inward, we can easily get misled, confused, steered toward the wrong path. When we keep our gaze outward to God and His Word, we will always get led down the right path. God wants us not to focus on the self, but to focus on Him. Yoga teaches the opposite. It teaches that by focusing on yourself and what your heart wants, you will be led to “bliss” and true happiness. The Bible clearly states that “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. The Bible instructs us that our hearts can and will confuse us and lead us astray. We shouldn’t listen to our hearts, but instead listen to God’s Word, the Holy Bible.
After my instructor had us each go around the room and read a verse from the Bghadva Gita (Hindu scripture), I knew that was my cue to leave. God had been trying to tell me for a while that this wasn’t right for me and I had been trying to ignore His voice, telling myself I was doing the right thing by staying in the course, and if I could just sit through the spiritual parts of it and focus on the exercise and postures, I would be fine. But after reading excerpts out of this book, along with sitting in on uncomfortable chanting, I now I had a sick feeling in my stomach – I knew what my answer was and it was the easiest decision I’d ever made.
I called my instructor in the next couple days and broke the news to her that I would not be continuing the course. The spiritual readings, energy exercises, meditations, chants and true meaning of what we were practicing interfered with my faith. She explained that the course was non-refundable, which I expected, and that was okay with me. I cannot put a price on my faith.
I am still happy with my decision to quit the yoga teacher training course, because I know it was not God’s plan for me to go through with it.
I learned that while many just use yoga postures as a means of exercise, many who don’t know Jesus are using it as a form of spirituality in place of a religion. Yoga’s background purpose stems from Hinduism. The only one true way to God is through Jesus Christ, not meditation or chants, not by good works, not any other religion or spirituality. This is the only way to obtain true happiness and a joyful heart, and the one true way to Heaven. What breaks my heart is that so many people all over the world believe that yoga can help them become one with their god. I pray that anyone reading this who does not know Jesus, will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and accept the one true way to God – Jesus Christ. To find out more about who Jesus is, I recommend www.gotquestions.org and www.intouch.org.
From a broader aspect, I learned that although something may initially seem right for us and feel good, and we may even think it’s God’s plan for us, we need to do the following before jumping in:
- Pray continuously about it.
- Research what Scripture says. (Are there contradictions in the Bible regarding your choice?)
- Be patient and don’t jump in immediately. Wait on God’s answer. It will come.
- Don’t follow your heart or feelings. Remember Jeremiah 17:9. The heart will lead you astray. God will never lead you astray.
Have you ever encountered a situation like this? If so, would you be willing to share your story? We would love to hear it and to use it as a testimony to others.