Can Christians Practice Yoga?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Jesus Christ

Living in Tulsa, it’s no surprise that I’ve faced some opposition when it comes to teaching yoga. Most of this resistance, however, comes from people of faith that really aren’t educated about yoga. They have no personal experience with it. Perhaps their pastor has spoken against it or they’ve read an article online saying that it is “bad” or “pagan”. This month I will be defending practicing yoga in the context of Christianity. I understand that this topic will greatly intrigue some, and leave others shrugging their shoulders saying, “Who cares? Why is this such a big deal?”

I don’t bring up religion or politics very often, for obvious reasons. I want to unite, not divide. Although I presently consider myself much more “spiritual” than “religious”, the fact is that I was raised in the Christian church. I went to a private school from K-12 and even for several semesters of college. I was in church every Sunday (sometimes for multiple services) and Wednesday. As I grew older, I attended every time the doors were open….

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What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is probably the most popular branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), though it is not the only. Other modalities that are commonly used include tui na (Chinese massage), herbs, moxibustion, and cupping. Acupuncture in its most ancient form is a TCM practice, but there have been many cultures and groups of people that have modified the TCM style of acupuncture and published their own versions of this healing art. For example, Japanese acupuncture is different from Chinese acupuncture, which is different from Korean acupuncture, which is different from European acupuncture. Here in the States, there is medical acupuncture and dry needling. All these different styles insert the same hair-thin needles into various points on the body. I think of it similarly to how there are many different sects and denominations of each religious path. Although most of these groups all agree on the same main principles and ideas, they may diverge on less important practices or beliefs; thus, they create their own school of thought. When I utilize acupuncture on a patient, it is not uncommon for me to blur many of these different methods into one treatment. I will needle common TCM points (of which…

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On Working Through Emotions

“The harder you work on yourself, the easier life becomes.” – Bradley J. Sugars

 

“If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel ill I will double my labor. If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will think of past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be the master of my emotions.” – Og Mandino

Now that we understand that there’s an issue with burying and stuffing emotions, let’s talk about what the solution is. How do we work through our emotions? When I was living in Kansas City a few years ago, a friend of mine turned me on to Karol K. Truman’s book Feelings Buried Alive Never Die. Honestly, the title perfectly sums up the entirety of the book, and I think it’s really profound. We live with this mindset that if we avoid and ignore our unwanted/”toxic” emotions, that they’ll just go away. But now we’re seeing that…

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The Mind-Body Connection Explained

To demonstrate the Mind-Body Connection, I’m going to ask you to wiggle your toes. Go ahead, take a moment to do so.

Now what just happened? How were you able to do that? It’s a fact that your mind told your body to do something, and your body responded by following through with the action. Our minds and our bodies are in constant communication with each other: this is the Mind-Body Connection.

Sigmund Freud advanced the human understanding of our psyche so much when he introduced the concept of a conscious and subconscious mind. A lot of these constant actions (i.e. breathing) involving our mind and body are done on a subconscious level. The breakdown is with our conscious mind.

The sad reality is that, though our mind and body are inherently connected, we live in a state of constant disconnect (on a conscious level). We may be physically working at 11am, yet our mind is disconnected from the task at hand. We’re planning lunch, daydreaming about that future vacation, or replaying the conversation we had in the break room twenty minutes prior.

It’s those activities that unite and connect our mind and…

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Your Emotions Affect Your Overall Health

“Your issues are in your tissues” is a phrase that’s nearly become a cliché among bodyworkers and alternative health professionals. And no, when I say “tissues”, I’m not referring to a Kleenex catching your tears. I’m suggesting that the tissues, muscles, and organs of your body respond to each thought and emotion that you experience.

What’s always puzzled me is that people are 100% on board with saying something like, “I carry all my stress in my shoulders”, but then they look at me like I’m crazy when I suggest that their anger is damaging their liver or their fear is tightening their psoas muscle. If we are comfortable saying that stress (an unseen element in our lives that is completely mental and emotional in nature) affects us physically, why wouldn’t the other hundreds of thoughts and emotions that we experience on a daily basis do the exact same? What we’re talking about here is often referred to as the “mind/body connection”. What happens in the mind affects the body, and vice versa.

This is the premise of a holistic view of life and health: one aspect of life affects all the rest. We like to compartmentalize our life into “work”,…

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Not Knots!

Have you ever gotten a massage where everything is going great until you feel that sudden CRUNCH? “Wow, that was tender,” you think to yourself, but you choose to try to stay in that place of tranquility. It happens again. CRUNCH. You eventually work up the nerve to ask your massage therapist, “What IS that?!” Your therapist can reply in many different ways, but the most common, poignant reply is, “Knots.”

I have many clients who have come into my studio for the first time talking about the “knots” in their neck, shoulders, etc. In the massage industry, we talk so much about knots, but what are they? How do you get them? Better yet, how do you get rid of them? Shall we be so bold as to ask how to prevent them?! The term “knot” doesn’t have a medical definition, yet it’s used heavily among professionals and educated massage consumers alike. My goal this month is to shine some light on the topic.

One of the most classic rants I’ve heard from a client is, “HOW DO I HAVE A KNOT IN MY PINKY?!” The fact is that knots can appear anywhere that…

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