I have been looking back over what I’ve written on Yoga over the years, and have how people have commented in response, and what stands out for me is the need for Christians to clearly articulate how they understand the mind, body, soul and Spirit.
Yoga, given its Hindu origins, tends to be grounded in a pantheistic (God is all) worldview where no meaningful distinction is recognized between soul and Spirit, humanity and divinity. Christianity, on the other hand, is grounded in a monotheistic (God is one) worldview, where a significant distinction is recognized between humanity and divinity, soul and Spirit, which has consequences for how we understand union / yoga with God. The hurdles to union are not just perceptual and mechanical, they are also ethical and relational. Thus, genuine union goes beyond experience, beyond what we can perceive. And yet, experience of God is not unimportant or inconsequential. It is a blessing to experience. So, how to move forward? For me it is a matter of faith seeking experience.
Authentic yoga, authentic union, begins with faith, begins with entrusting your self, your soul to God, to Spirit. The soul is not essentially equivalent to Spirit, but it is radically dependant on Spirit, a subtle but important difference. Thus, contra Hinduism, authentic yoga is more about soul realignment or attunement than soul deconstruction or denial. Its about entrusting ourselves to Spirit, the Spirit most deeply known through Christ. Christian yoga begins with Christ faith.
Going deeper, from a Hebraic understanding the soul is a mind and body unity, it is the self understood holistically. So there is no mind / body split, but there is a soul / Spirit split. Christian yoga, union with Christ, heals this split through the karmic transferrence he achieved through his death and resurrection.
So what then of experience? Well, faith needs to be exercised. We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, body and soul, so what are we waiting for? Use your body as God intended it, worship the Lord with your whole self. Let go. Trust. Listen. Listen to yourself, listen to your environment, listen to your God, listen with your whole self and not just your ears. It is said the sacred / secular split is a false one, well, what of the split between physical discipline and spiritual discipline? Stretch yourself. Why not explore as you exercise?