I remember when I first heard about yoga. I thought it was too Eastern religious for me to feel comfortable with. The word “meditate” seemed so foreign to me. I was more comfortable with “ponder.” But that was before I knew anything about yoga at all. Now I find myself shaking my head at my past self and at people like in this BBC article from back in November – Does doing yoga make you a Hindu? Really?
President Hinckley frequently said, “You bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it” (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, August 1998). Yoga has done me a whole lot of good.
Apparently, one of the things it’s done for me is give me more gray matter (How Yoga Changes the Brain). Yoga lets me look inward and really examine what is going on with the different areas in my body. It makes sense that doing so regularly would increase your ability to do so.
Back when I was doing community theater, someone commented to me at an audition that I seemed so calm. I knew I wasn’t that calm, which is why I was sitting there focusing on my breathing just as I do during yoga. That focus on breathing kept me calm.
Brett frequently reminds to do yoga when he can sense I’m getting tense. That and running. Just sitting with my eyes closed, my back straight, my hands on my legs or at my chest, and breathing, helps me center, helps me relax, helps me think clearer. When I’m sitting at the doctor’s and the wait is going on for the eternity that it can there, I’m most often focusing on my breathing.
When I was in labor we found a yoga style music station on Pandora and played that in the delivery room while I focused on Iddo’s heartbeat (very grateful they insisted on continuous monitoring), and breathed. I ended up basically sleeping through most of my active labor that way. Even before labor, I was able to bend down and touch my toes, almost palm the floor, clear up to the end of my pregnancy, a flexibility I get from yoga.
Earlier this year I was memorizing a scripture in The Book of Mormon, “ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ” (Moroni 7:19). There is more to being good than just not doing evil, it is recognizing all the good you find no matter what its source.
I am not a Hindu because I do yoga, but I recognize the good that yoga does for me, embrace it, don’t condemn it, and add it to the good I have found elsewhere in the world.