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  • Allyson Huval

New Directions for Bethel Yogi

Understanding the word “yoga” or “yogi” has become a hot topic recently. Many people are concerned about the cultural appropriation that is strung along with “goat yoga,” “drunk yoga,” and of course “Christian yoga.” Since the beginning, I knew I wanted to create a blog that focused on me as a solitary practitioner of yoga rather than inventing a movement. There has always been spirituality in yoga, and there always will be. My intention with Bethel Yogi is to bring spirituality back into yoga thought in a different way from its origins. I want this blog to be a resource for seekers to find the spirituality incorporated into yoga. I seek to flood this blog with the outpourings of my muses between the inseparable individual holy trinity: the mind, body, and soul.


Taken in 2018 a few weeks after beginning Bethel Yogi

Bethel means “house or temple of God.” While many people only practice asana when speaking of yoga, the potential for integration is still there. Every human being is a temple of God, and we honor God just by being. The original intention of yoga in a spiritual sense was full integration of mind, body, and soul. Yogi, frequently translated as a practitioner of yoga, is derived from the word yogin which can be translated to the word mystic. Mysticism appears in Christian and Hindu spiritualities as well as many other religious traditions. Mystical experiences may sound daunting, but their purpose is simply a fruitful, all-encompassing relationship with the divine. When I practice yoga whether through meditation or asana, I am continually drawn to the interconnectedness of that act to God. Thus, the implications of embodiment in “bethel” and the history of the mysticism surrounding “yogi” continually shape what I share here.


I began this blog as a sort of manifesto for those who didn’t believe one could practice yoga as a Catholic. I also wanted to pave the way for people who may have felt lost like I was. While my Catholic identity is still very strong, my hopes for this blog have shifted. After teaching yoga on Sunday mornings for the last year during the pandemic, I noticed my inclination to more inclusive spiritual/religious topics. Some Sundays I would find myself playing Kayne West, reading from a Christian devotional, and noting a scripture from the Bhagavad Gita all in the same class. For those who have followed since the beginning, you would have noticed this shift in my blog topics from a strictly Catholic perspective to an interreligious exploration of spirituality. I have decided to continue in the same fashion with more transparency about the purpose of this blog.


Bethel Yogi will now be a blog dedicated to exploring interfaith yoga from a Catholic perspective. I will continue drawing inspiration from various sources of spirituality, a true testament to my upbringing in post-Vatican II Catholicism. I hope that seekers from all walks of life can find glimmers of truth between the lines of my posts.


For those who are still seeking more Catholic-ness in a secular world, I have something more to offer. This summer I will be taking over my dear friend Amy Secrist’s brand, the Catholic Yogi. I will be revamping the Catholic Yogi blog in new and (hopefully) exciting ways. I hope to see you there!


I would like to end with a note of gratitude. Never could I have imagined the journey Bethel Yogi led me on. And yet here I am, still moving and dancing my way through the blurred lines of following Jesus by practicing yoga.


Peace and Namaste,

Allyson

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