Lately, I have realized how important it is for me to be a good steward of my body. I have always had generally good health, but between becoming a mom, having a few miscarriages, and stress-eating, I’ve put on more pounds than I would have liked over the past few years. I like to refer to the extra cushion in my mid-section as my “mom pudge.” My husband likes it because the added weight is also in my thighs and butt. That I don’t mind, I’d actually like for all of that to be muscle like the beautiful Serena Williams, but the mom pudge… no thanks!
I grew up being awkwardly skinny and I was always a dancer so I was active. When I became a mom, especially a stay-at-home mom, I was more sedentary than ever before. (Can someone tell me how this happens?) Plus when your kid has been in the 90-something-plus percentile her entire life, your back and core goes out after a while.
Obviously, we moms should be taking good care of our bodies, not just for our looks but for our overall health and energy so that we can be and do all that God is calling us to. I serve as one of the dance team leaders at my church, but I only started working out consistently a couple of months ago.
How I Finally Started Working Out
To start, my sister and I were waking up early to walk for a hour, three days per week. She lives in New Jersey and I live in New York so we would call each other at 6 am and talk while we walked. She’s my best friend so we have a lot to talk about all the time!
I started seeing results within a few weeks — less mom pudge, more muscle in the places hubby likes, and more energy to the point that I no longer needed the mid-afternoon nap. Plus I’m pretty sure it helped my hormones because my periods started to be more “normal.” I went from 30 day cycles with heavy 7 day periods, to 28 day cycles with 5 day heavy to moderate periods. And less screaming at everyone. Yea, I’m pretty sure it helped.
But then it started to get cold outside… And then I started working a part-time job on the days that we would normally work out, but the job has me doing a lot of activity — moving, lifting, and being on my feet for a few hours in a row. Walking was starting to be unrealistic for my new-working-mom lifestyle so I stopped.
What Happened When I Tried Christian Yoga
Now my husband was finally convinced to work out with me indoors every morning! (That’s right — every morning!!!) But during the time when I stopped walking and was working out solo, I was falling more and more in love with yoga. I could get a good workout (and even sweat) in 15 minutes and feel renewed. I would feel that soreness after a yoga workout because as gentle as the movements were, it was a bodyweight workout and the movements really made a difference in me.
And I spent time with God while I did yoga.
That’s right. I follow some awesome Christian yogis who basically share devotionals or Bible teachings during their practice. So not only do I exercise my body, I fill my spirit in a way that honors God.
We moms have so much going on every day. Whether we’re staying at home or working, it can be hard to find time to work out unless you have access to a gym or trainer.
Some of us are struggling to read our bibles every day, let alone work out. Combine the two! I recommend Christian yoga.
Should Christians Do Yoga?
There are many valid concerns as well as misconceptions about yoga and whether Christians should do it. I’m not the expert on the history of yoga, and my goal is not to try to convince you that it can be holy. For me, it’s not an issue — I’m confident that between Jesus and me, yoga with a Christian focus is good and strengthens my faith. If you want some more research to help you have peace about whether or not to do Christian yoga, here are some great resources for you:
This is a 3-part debate about whether yoga can be Christian:
https://youtu.be/vWZdYGwja20 (slow to start)
For the moms who are open to it, here are 5 reasons why I think Christian yoga should be your work out of choice!
1. You need time for yourself.
Yoga is not just “working out,” it’s self-care. Working out can feel good after you’ve done it and when you see the long term results but, for some of us, the process sucks! With yoga, however, there is something about the flowing movements and stretching that feels amazing and nourishes your body. Moms often have a hard time making time for ourselves, you can kill two bird with one stone — working out and self-care — when you do yoga. Note that is working out, though, and you will feel it the next day!
2. You need to strengthen your core and back.
A lot of us are carrying heavy toddlers, bending down to clean snotty noses, reaching up to pull down specially reserved craft supplies or the next seasons clothes, wiping butts, wrestling and giving piggy back rides. My hip of choice is the left one, that’s where my 4T wearing two-and-a-half-year-old sits. Motherhood can physically wear us down if we’re not careful to build our strength. Yoga focuses a lot on the core and it’s great for your back. If you work a job where you sit or stand for most of the day, doing some yoga will be a nice treat for you. Plus, the mom pudge looks instantly better when your posture is corrected!
3. You need a workout that is “safe” for your kids to hear, see, and do.
I absolutely LOVE Zumba, but I can’t do it in front of my daughter because I don’t want to be the one to teach her how to shake her booty. (Thought I can’t say I want anyone else to teach her… LOL) But I feel very safe doing Christian yoga at home while she’s awake.
What I love about Christian yoga is there is usually no “new age” philosophy or weird theology attached to it — no talk of “chakras” being “aligned” or anything unclear like that. The Christian yogis I have followed are followers of Jesus and they make Him the center of their practice and they talk openly about Him.
If you can’t get away from the kids to get your work out in, you can play a Christian yoga YouTube video and feel assured that they won’t hear or learn anything you don’t believe in. They can even participate, though at the moment, my toddler just likes to go in between my legs and arms for “downward facing dog,” and get on my back for “cat and cow.”
As your kids get older, I do recommend that you explain that not all yoga is the same — non-Christian yogis may include other religions and philosophies, so it helps to make your kids aware that you specifically choose to practice Christian yoga.
4. It’s relatively easy to begin and doesn’t take up a lot of time.
It’s easy to fit yoga into your schedule because there a plenty of good workouts that are less than 15 minutes long. You can do a short workout before the kids wake up, during nap time, or before you go to bed, and it will be very effective. Because Christian yoga is becoming less taboo, there are tons of free YouTube workouts. You don’t even have to have a mat. For a while I used a couple of towels on a rug and instead of a block I’ll use a pillow or a stack of books.
5. It can grow your relationship with God.
In one article by John Piper on whether yoga is sinful, he said,
“One of the first things that I would want to say is that there are two kinds of approaches to questionable practices in life. One I would call a minimalist approach to holiness and godliness. The other maximalist.
In the first case, your typical question is, “Well, what is wrong with it?” It would apply to movies and music, and kids often ask their parents, “What is wrong with it?” And the other approach is not to ask, “What is wrong with it?” mainly, but, “Will it make me more Christlike? Will it make me more devoted to Jesus? Will I be more powerful and full of the Holy Spirit? Will I be more effective in prayer because of it? Will it make me more bold in witness or weaken me? Will it help me be spiritually discerning of the ways of Satan in the world and will it help me lay up treasures in heaven? Will it help me find joy in God and all that he is for me in Jesus?””
I couldn’t agree more. He went on to discuss the roots of yoga and to say it should be avoided. However, when I ask myself these same questions with regards to Christian yoga, I can say YES — when I practice Christ-centered yoga I find that it makes me more Christlike, devoted to Jesus, powerful and full of the Holy Spirit, and I find joy in Jesus. As a result, I am able to be a bold witness, discern the ways of the enemy versus God’s ways, and lay up treasures in heaven (i.e. grow my faith and invest in the kingdom of God).
Because the Christian yogis I follow share Scripture, devotionals, and Christian meditations during their practices, I often feel like God is sharing through them exactly what I need to hear. There is something about the stretching and, sometimes, the struggling through a pose where I am reminded that when I am weak, God is strong. I have been reminded to let go of my perfectionism, to let God remind me of how He loves me, and to be honest about where I am — all during a Christian yoga workout. If you’re looking to invite Jesus into more of your day to day, Christian yoga is way to bring Jesus into your workout.
Again, my goal is not to convince anyone that yoga is okay for Christians to do, but rather to encourage the moms who have clear consciences regarding yoga to especially try Christian yoga for their physical and even spiritual health. Personally it is my favorite way to exercise!
Be sure to check out some of my favorite Christian yogis below:
Caroline Williams Yoga / The Abbey
Caroline is the first Christian yogi I subscribed to on YouTube. The first video I ever watched of hers was ChristianYoga For When You’re A Hot Mess. Caroline is the founder of The Abbey which is a subscription-based Christian yoga resource for Christians who want to practice yoga at home without being judged for it.
Their Christian Gentle Flow for A Rough Day is a good place to start when you’re easing into starting to work out and it’s especially for a rough day, hence the name 🙂
Your Turn: Do you find time to workout? Would you try Christian yoga? How can you invite Jesus into more of your day-to-day activities? ⭐️
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Young Moms’ Advocate and Legacy Activator, who is here to help your family prosper. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.