Lessons from Yoga

So, I learned something while doing yoga yesterday… Sometimes the best way to get somewhere you want to get to is to go somewhere completely different.

The last few days I have been feeling pretty stressed and it’s really affected my yoga practice. Over the last few days I’ve known that what I really needed and the place I really needed to get to in my yoga practice was relaxation. I needed to relax, and come to a calm and peaceful mindset so that I could pray and meditate and fully surrender to God. So, because I knew I needed that and wanted that I tried to tailor my yoga routines the last few days to create rest and relaxation. I did a lot of seated postures and tried to pray and meditate a lot, but each time I tried I ended up frustrated because no matter how hard I tried to clear my mind and allow myself to just be fully with God in the moment and work through poses that would calm and focus my mind I couldn’t – I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t pray, I kept getting distracted, I kept feeling anxious and stressed instead of relaxed. I tried all different relaxing poses. I tried using form prayers since my own prayers were so scattered. But, nothing really seemed to be getting me to that place where I could calm down and just let God take over all my worries.

Then yesterday something happened. I was frustrated with trying to relax and I found that I unexpectedly had a bit of extra time for doing yoga that morning so I decided to just try out this balancing routine that I had read about on line the night before. I knew that the routine was a bit more strenuous then what I normally have been doing and I knew that it wasn’t a routine that would help me relax – these were poses that would get my heart rate up (not really something I thought I needed any help with right then), but I thought I’d try it.

As I moved from one pose to another, usually only capable of holding each for a few seconds before falling out of it and having to try again, something amazing happened - My mind stopped stressing and thinking and worrying. The poses were just hard enough to challenge me enough that I HAD to focus on my body and when I was focusing on my body I couldn’t focus on all the other stuff. In the end I was able to reach a place of relaxation and calm and was able to approach God’s throne with a posture of surrender not through meditation and quieting my mind and relaxing my body like I had originally thought but through challenging my body and focusing my mind on something very tangible. It was definitely a learning experience. I love the things that God has been showing me about my physicality and how that can relate to my spirituality. I’m definitely still a long way from really seeing myself as a holistic, connected, integrated being, but I’m getting there. J

“The storm is coming but I don’t mind. People are dying, I close my blinds. All that I know is I’m breathing now. I want to change the world…instead I sleep. I want to believe in more than you and me. But all that I know is I’m breathing. All I can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep breathing now.”

 – Ingrid Michaelson, Keep Breathing


Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman