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Living in The Presence of God and Practicing Yoga:  A Life-Long Learning Experience

The Five Points of  Yoga:

  • Proper exercise to stimulate circulation (Asana)

  • Proper breathing to absorb more oxygen (Pranayama)

  • Proper relaxation of the body and mind (Prayer)

  • Proper diet, (Natural, whole food, plant based diet)

  • Positive thinking and concentration of the mind (Meditation)

Yoga is a practice of love, compassion and respect for all beings and through

this practice, yoga transforms lives. When we meditate on God's word, our lives

are transformed.


Imagine if you will, sitting on a towel, on industrial gray carpet.  

It was the Summer 1973,  there were no yoga mats then, in the beautiful YWCA, at 17th and K Streets, in downtown Washington, DCa classic painted white brick building with large windows, high ceilings with ceiling fans and no air conditioning. 

I attended an eight week Introduction to Yoga class and after the first class,  I was hooked! Our first lesson was learning how to breathe, inhaling in through the nose, and exhaling out, through the nose. It was amazingly powerful, and yet, so relaxing at the same time.

  • The air was cool, even on that warm, summer afternoon. We were told that is spite of the cars, trucks, horns and traffic outside, there were birds in the trees, just outside the windows.

  • With each inhale and exhale through the nose, I began to relax and let go, I heard the birds chirping outside, in the trees, just as our yoga teacher said, in spite of the sound of traffic,that flooded them out, ordinariry.  It was so relaxing, and I felt so wonderfully connected to nature, connecting spiritually with God. Yoga had me at hello

Beginning to study the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali one lesson comes to mind. The seat of the yogi is steady and joyful.  When I was first introduced to the Yoga Sutras, the philosophy of why we study and pracitcie yoga, I was drawn to the connection of being present in the Lord, "the joy of the Lord is my strength" In other words, as I was being introduced to the meaning and reason of developing yoga practice as a lifestyle, I was able to make the connection spiritually, how our Christian faith, or our belief in God connected us to the Universe that God created. Yoga had me at hello.

The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 Indian sutras (aphorisms). The Yoga Sutras were compiled by Sage Patanjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions. ​For me, yoga became my instant connection to what I learned as a child. In the Bible we learned that the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof and God is the center of our joy.


Remembering as I began to study the Yoga Sutras, or the philosophies of why we practice yoga, we learned that our connection to the Earth should be steady and joyful.  While yoga is not a religion is it a way of life, or lifestyle with positive effects on our mind, our body and our spirit.

As believers of God and following in the faith, everyday we have the opportunity to go out into the world, to share God's love through an act of unconditional love, sharing joy, offering peace, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and patience.  At the beginning of each yoga practice, we set our intention for our practice. I encourage yoga students to focus on all of the love and goodness they shared with others during their day, and now, on the mat, we can return all of the fruits of God's love back to ourselves.  


As students of yoga, we have an opportunity to take our yoga off the mat and into the world. As we practice our faith in God, we can take our love into the world. 


As teachers of yoga, when we truly feel the light within us, God's presence in our spirits, we naturally find ourselves sharing this light in our home, in our places of work, with our fellow yogis, with our soul partners, our friends, with the Earth and the Universe. What a wonderful gift this is.


As we continue to move in the path of prayer, enlightenment, self-awareness, breathing and meditation, let it be our intention to continue to find the inner peace that is ours, and the presence of our moments with God through His Holy Spirit. Both are essential to our health and well-being.  If I can quote one of my yoga instructors,  Angela Meyer, as we confirm our intention   "May it be so"

When we bow to each other and say "Namaste"  we are saying "the God in me honors the God in you".  We are saying "May God continue to bless you and keep you, all the days of our lives".


Rev. Denise Burriss

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