The Model Yogini
Beliefnet catches up with Christy Turlington.
BY: Interview by Anne Simpkinson
Returning to Religious Roots
Switching gears, we've had some inquiries on the site about whether Christians can practice Yoga without losing or damaging their faith. What's been your experience?
I think a lot of people [wonder if] there's a conflict. Hinduism, one of the very first religions, adopted it much earlier than anybody else but Yoga transcends Hinduism. Yoga is a yoking with something higher, and it transcends religion and those kinds of classification.
But how much of the religious part of Yoga do practitioners have to accept?
The priest at my Catholic church practices Yoga. He was a Carthusian monk (Carthusians are a hermit sect of the Catholic church.) Meditation and contemplation are practices in all faiths.
A lot of people today practice mindfulness meditation and some believe that it is being taken out of its religious context and emasculated...
Made less powerful.
Yes. What do you think of that argument in terms of Yoga?
To me, I find things are definitely most powerful in their purest form--like with language. Religious texts in Sanskrit or Latin or Greek or Aramaic are more powerful when they have not been translated, when so much of the meaning is lost in translation.
But I think that some things are so powerful that even when they are filtered, they are still powerful. You would lose so many people if you said that you had to do something this way or that way.
I wonder if, by doing Yoga or mindfulness meditation, people get back in touch with their own religious roots?
That's what happened to me. Yoga reveals to you things that you believe but didn't realize you believed or forgot you believed. It reaffirms and solidifies your belief system.
It could make your belief system more open, or it could bring focus to your spiritual life. It depends on the individual. Then it's a matter of finding the right place. There are so many choices even within your own faith. For me, a big part was finding the right church and finding the right priest, somebody that could speak to me in a language I could understand within the context of my faith.