Church of the Downward Dog

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One day during a particularly enlightening down dog, an idea lit upon my skull like a butterfly messenger from the universe. About how my admittedly limited yoga practice has helped me make sense of my life, and restore much needed balance to my severely lopsided back and brain. Personally, spiritually and therapeutically, I have received more from yoga than from any traditional church service or counseling session. That’s right, yoga is my new religion!

So I decided to make it official by making public announcement to declare yoga my religion. By public, I mean I told my daughter with actual words, rather than the less effective, introverted telepathic method I prefer to use to communicate with others. Her response went something like this (dramatic pause … stares and blinks), “Mom. Find your chill.”

Dude, that’s what I’m doing—I’m totally finding my chill!

I figured my words would make my idea real, and I would be more compelled to get on the yoga mat every day.

Or every other day.

Imagine my excitement when that very day I saw this bit from an episode of Family Guy where Stewie tells Brian, “Some people do yoga instead of going to church.” What more did I need? I now had validation from the television universe that I was on the right path!

Now that Family Guy greenlighted my idea for my next post, I asked Uncle Google to search “family guy yoga instead of church,” because, everyone knows it’s important to do your research. I clicked on the first link to appear, because, everyone knows that the first link always contains the most current and accurate information available on the internet, right?

The link took me to an article entitled, “Can Catholics do Yoga?”

Can Catholics do yoga? Really?

REALLY?

The article went on to suggest that yoga and pagan practices were ripe with danger; that the impossibility of separating the physical and spiritual aspects opens the mind up to demonic influence. And apparently, some people are of the belief that yoga teachers and students are more apt to be afflicted with evil spirits.

So, if do a sun salutation or a down dog posture, am I adoring Satan? By practicing yoga, am I on an unholy superhighway straight to Hell?

The brain and consciousness, as well as the ability to learn, reason and believe are powerful testaments of human potential—but some things I just don’t get. I was both fascinated and dumbfounded by this idea. I think I could live a hundred lifetimes and some connections would never, ever occur to me.

I am not Catholic, and admittedly lack the theological understanding to fully appreciate this particular perspective. However, I do believe that we as human beings have an innate right to pursue the religious practice and path that rings true for each of us.

You know, find your chill while doing little harm to others and the creatures with which we share this planet.

We are all connected.