Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yo, Yo, Yoga!

I don't like that title (I couldn't think of a better one), but I like to do yoga. It's somehow relaxing and strengthening at the same time. No, I'm not all, "Namaste" when I talk to people. I just really like the way I feel after yoga, and it's especially great for my problematic back.

Now, what about all the Eastern religion stuff that goes with it? Clearly, I'm not about that. I pray throughout my yoga practice, and I'm learning to use it as a time of worship—to respond to God because of the amazing creation I am. Not like, "Oh, I'm so amazing! My body is awesome! Woohoo, me!"

Trust me on that one.

But our bodies are such incredible (and, in my case, delicate) machines, I'm just in awe of my Creator. No reason I shouldn't respond to that and inform him of his awesomeness. As if he didn't know, or like he needs my validation, right? But it's a reminder to me of who God is.

The one thing that always gets me is what great sayings yoga people seem to have. Every yoga instructor I've ever had has always known a bunch of profound quotes from yoga masters ("yogis") or Indian mystics and philosophers. They're always thought-provoking. I thought I'd share a few of them with you today.

The winds of grace are blowing all the time; you have only to raise your sail.

This is my favorite. And it's true. God's grace is always available to us, but we have to be willing to accept it and let it move us—let it be the driving force in our lives. But it has to be our choice. God is out there whether we accept him or not, and we have the free will to accept him (or not). But he's never less available to us. It's all about our willingness to meet him.

If you are not in the present, you are nowhere.

There are lots of New Testament verses about this. Be in the present. Don't dwell on the past—the old creation has gone; you are a new creation in Christ. And don't worry about the future—tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. If you're constantly putting yourself in the past and in the future, you're living in today. And today is the only real thing, right? The past and the future are just shadows. I, for one, need to stop living in shadows. You?

In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice they are not.

Wait, that's Yogi Berra. Different kind of yogi. Moving on.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

Yeah, I don't have any deep, spiritual explanation for this one. I just think it's true—for bodies and minds. I'm an inflexible person sometimes. I like what I like, and I don't like to deviate from that. But the more rigid a person is in spirit, the crankier they get when things don't go their way. Give a little.

Real peace is unshakable. Bliss is unchanged by gain or loss.

This is how our joy in the Lord should look. Whether things are good or bad, God is the same. Our joy in him should be unchanged. Easier said than done, I know. We get grumpy with God or with situations. But God is love. He is peace. He doesn't change when everything else does. He's a good place to go when life is unstable because he's always stable. He doesn't change like shifting shadows, no matter what the situation in our ever-changing world is.

If you've never tried yoga, I recommend it. Things that sound silly at first (like "send your breath to your spine") make sense once you figure out how it's done. It's a very visual practice, which may be why I like it. A lot of visualizing. Plus you can go at your own pace and do what you can do. It's very forgiving.


  1. I like yoga, too except I have to be in the right mood otherwise I get bored.

    I used to have a huge problem with not living in the present. I would constantly be thinking (read: worried) about the future. I've gotten better by default, I think. Having two under the age of 3 really doesn't allow for extra time to dwell on what hasn't happened yet! :) It's been good for me!

  2. I got a Living Social deal in my area that had 20 yoga classes for $20. Can't beat that with a stick! :) So I'm doing it at home during the week with DVDs (there are enough streaming on Netflix to keep me from doing the same thing all the time), and I go to the studio on Saturdays for a more advanced class. I love dancing and doing high-impact things---they're so much fun!---but I need to baby my back for a while so I don't mess it up. Again.

  3. How I love yoga! At first, I thought it would be weird, but then I fell in love with it. Really need to get back into it.


I wrote the thing. You read the thing. Don't be too lazy to comment!