Body Beautiful: On Yoga and Zumba


With the onset of diabetes, cholesterol related diseases, and cancers there is almost an urgency to taking good care of our body, our God-given gift which we use to give glory back to Him by serving others. It’s a
treasured machine, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps139) that should be kept lean and mean to last longer. To do this, we try to feed it right and to exercise the body. Modern technology has increased the conveniences of staying immobile in order to text, to watch tv, and to work, making the exercise of the body, of keeping it in motion to burn the calories eaten, all the more necessary. Basic concept is, if you eat more then exercise more to stay lean and mean, to stay fearfully and wonderfully made..with all body parts functioning as they were created to. The interesting thing about free will is that we are left to our devices to navigate how we will manage our bodies and live our lives. We are free to obsess with our bodies and become narcissistic, free to ignore the physical body and concentrate purely on the spiritual with fasting and abstinence. The modern world throws many opportunities our way and it is upto us to decide wether to take them on or push them away based on how we want to shape ourselves spiritually, morally, intellectually, and physically. As they say, garbage in, garbage out. Thus, we should be careful
that we don’t let impurities into our minds and into our bodies. We have several options to exercise which result into the control of calories when we keep ourselves in motion and which result into stronger bones and muscles when we lift challenging weights. Zumba is more of the former, and Yoga is more of the latter, using our own bodies as weights. Zumba is of Colombia origins in the 1990s which uses Latin dances to exercise the body. Yoga started 5,000 years ago, a Sanskrit word meaning “to join/yoke/ unite” becasue it seeks to unite spirit and body, man and nature through meditation, movements, and poses that exercise the body and its internal organs while retaining mindfulness. Can these endeavors of foreign influence pose a threat to us, Christians? Is excessive sensuality or demonic possession in the horizon? King David used song and dance to praise God and dancing can indeed be very liberating in terms
of necessary self-expression. However, Latin American dances are very sensual which modest Christians seem to be averse to. And then, there’s the body we are born with, the same bodies we develop throughout our lifetime, and die with when it ceases to function. There are body types that are born
voluptuous, they are sensural to look at even when unmoving. There are those who can dance suggestively even with the most innocuous of dance moves. There are bodies that look sexy even when wearing a sack and bodies that leave us unaf ected even when wearing close to nothing. These are the cards we are dealt with, the bodies we are born with and it is upto us how we use it, clothe it, nourish it
to navigate in our world. Yoga uses movements that allow our bodies and muscles to move in its fullest range of motion or capacity which I appreciate because, we lose our body’s flexibility and muscle tone if we don’t keep using it as it is created and meant to move. The proper breathing (deep breaths and long exhalations) make us appreciate this vulnerable yet strong and adaptable bodies that we have that is kept alive by oxygen (just as how we would imagine the Holy Spirit in us) , the very breath of God’s creation that our body seeks every minute of the day—and allows us to execute the motions and poses with balance and accuracy just by the control of our inhalations and exhalations that at the same time keep our body more efficient in burning the calories. (Remember, it is aerobic exercise that allows regular and continuous oxygen into our bodies that is necessary to burn sugar and keep diabetes away.) To get into the breathing pattern desired, there is meditation time before and after every yoga session and it
is good to use this time to pray and offer an intention to God for your exercise of the day. Be wary of any sanskrit words used and chanted and make sure you know the meanings from the instructors. (The rosary is a chant or mantra, too, intended to help us meditate on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious and transformative moments of our lives whilst refl ecting on Jesus’ life.) Do join in on the goodwill they often espouse: peace, harmony, respect for self and others, bearing with and letting go of the pain and the worries… It is always good to keep nourishing our spirit and mind as our body is kept busy with exercise, listening to Christian music, gospel readings, and reflections, as you work out in the gym or as you jog. Work out your inner demons as you work out your body. In zumba, I change the choreography on my
own when I find the movements too suggestive. However, we each have our own tolerances and preferences when it comes to self expression and must not be faulted and allowed free reign when expressed without malice or evil intent. All in all, a mature faith allows for outside trends and influences, provided we temper them and filter them with Christ’s teachings. Easier said than done. But I love the life
we are given, the intelligence, spirit, and heart we are given, and most of all the free will we are given by God to navigate our own paths toward Him. (1Cor 6:13-15,17-20) “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.” May all that we bring into our lives , enhance it, and ever give glory to God.