Every year at this time, we find ourselves inspired by a new year to form good habits and disciplines that we know will benefit our lives as a physical, spiritual, and intellectual being. We get excited and then we slowly slip back into our comfortable ways.
It’s the Holiday Season. The time of year where diets get thrown out the window and exercise traded in for an extra hour in your warm comfy bed.
I don’t blame you.
I struggle too but my challenge today is to not let cultural expectations define you.
Why wait until the new year to create good habits? Have a piece of pie? Heck yes! But create some new traditions too.
Take a family walk. Make more low carb meals. A family that puts priority on health will create lasting benefits to your body, mind, and spirit that will be passed down to younger generations. Continue Reading…
I have always said yoga is for everyone but it wasn’t until recently that I had a student teach me a new and important lesson in this truth. Yoga has the ability to take a student wherever they are, with whatever limitations and reservations they may have and slowly transform them into stronger, happier, and more balanced individuals. Continue Reading…
Recently I have been reading a book that teaches the art of Zen and how it can be used as an aide in your running routine. A very interesting couple, to say the least. I am a fairly new runner but I really enjoy it and have always felt my early morning runs to be very meditative. I love the stillness of the day, finishing its last moments of slumber before the sun. I get in my pace and stay there, my feet a predictable rhythm along with my heart. So, adding something like Zen, makes sense. Continue Reading…
It was a dark hour. In many ways. Thousands of miles away from home with an infant who wouldn’t sleep, was the situation I found myself in a few weeks ago when we flew to Kansas to visit family. There is just something so discouraging about an endless, dark night. Every new parent, insomniac, or anxiety stricken person can relate. Faced with the task of getting my child to sleep in his bed and not my arms, I felt spent.
Yet, just when you have lost your motivation to keep going, God has a way of reminding you why you are still standing.
It’s a meditation I shared in my yoga class recently. A mantra I have adopted when faced with new challenges as a mom. To some, it may have seemed odd or out of place. Not everyone can jump inside my head and understand why I choose the mantras I do. Love endures all things.And right on cue, my child is screaming from his crib.
Love. It is a seemingly simple concept until we get into the grit and sweat of it.
Love endures all things. The reality is there are many seasons of love but what makes it true is our faithfulness through every one.
Think about the relationships in your life. How does this truth apply to your friend, spouse, child, and God?
And my son just broke a key off my keyboard so . . .that’s all for now. Deep breath. Love.
The first night he did well. I, on the other hand, did not. I couldn’t shut my brain off. My heart was pumping with adrenaline, and I was glued to the monitor. Finally after 4 am, I was able to relax enough to sleep.
The next day, as I prepared to put him down for a nap, I reflected on my mental state then compared to the night before. I felt a lot calmer. The difference being, it was daytime. I was up and so was the sun.
It is funny, the things that we fear in the dark. The light not only reveals what is hidden but brings comfort to those who are afraid.
And I thought about the passage where Jesus says we are the light of the world. It gave me new perspective to not only think about being someone to reveal Christ as Truth to the world but also to show them the comfort and confidence that we receive through the knowledge of Christ.
His perfect love casts out our fear and gives us confidence in His grace.
Take a quiet moment today to reflect on Matthew 5:14. Start your meditation by simply being still and connecting to your breath. Let it connect you to your body and the sensation of your breath. Clear your mind and accept the silence. Then take each word of the 16 word verse and meditate on them individually. Next, reflect on the whole verse and think about light and what its function.
How does that add to the meaning of this verse and how does it apply to your life?
Lately I have been thinking about the idols in my life. We all have them but there are some that are harder to recognize than others. The innocent ones that don’t seem to fit the category. Those are the ones that have been revealed to me recently.
An idol is anything that takes priority in your life so much so that you depend on what it gives you more than God.
I have come to realize even my spouse and my child can become idols in my life.
Similarly, I think about the yoga movement. It is beneficial to our bodies, minds, and spirits and I love it. Yet there is a lot of controversy over how it fits into the life of a Christian. Some people believe that going through the physical poses of something that originates from a different belief system, you are worshiping other gods.
Yet in our american culture, which is the framework for the classes of which we are a part, I don’t think the threat lies there. I think the threat lies in things like materialism and vanity. The yoga culture in our world is not even one of simplicity and contentment like Buddha would have taught. It is that of consumerism and trend.
Corporations are playing on our need for beauty and belonging, and we are buying into it with 50 dollar yoga pants and every little gadget promising to improve our practice.
If we are going to examine the gods of yoga as a Christian, I think we need to see it as it stands in our culture.
As many of you know, I delivered a beautiful baby boy into the world on March 2nd. My first child. I delivered him naturally, without pain medications, and underwent the hardest, most painful and difficult task of my life.
New life. It’s a miracle to behold. The design of woman’s body to grow a child in her womb, then deliver that child. And feed him with her body. It’s a beautiful plan.But one thing I am now dealing with is getting this body back into shape.
Not only is child birth traumatic but the after effects are pretty traumatic as well.
It can do a number to your self esteem. And though I am excited to get back to unmodified yoga and running, the results can’t come fast enough.
I wanted to take this time to share a parallel God revealed to me recently. When Christ died on the cross for us, his body was broken. He underwent pain so that we may have new life. A similar, yet less severe example is that of child birth. When we choose to create life and bring it into the world to live, we are not just choosing the cute pregnancy pictures. We are choosing to let our bodies be broken and used up so that another may have life.
So I will keep this in mind. Next time I am doing yoga and shuddering at my saggy belly, I will remember that the sacrifice was worth it and linger in the magnitude of God’s sacrifice for me.
Yoga appeals to the emotions. It’s part of what makes it effective to the whole health of a person. Yoga is not just physical. It is spiritual and emotional. Not only are some poses designed to release anxiety and trapped emotions, but it puts us in touch with our own limitations. Learning a new discipline requires humility and submission to our limitations. But, take heart, we are all in it together. That’s why we call it our practice.
Personally, I have learned more about limitations now that I am pregnant than ever before.
It has been very humbling to see my abilities changing as my body does. I have had to swallow my pride, as I modify my poses.
An important part of yoga is the ability to listen to your body, not pushing it past its limits. We have to all swallow our pride and challenge ourselves at the level that is appropriate for us. Many times, before a class, I will encourage my students to not judge themselves or compare themselves to anyone else. Now I confess, I am taking a lesson from my own book. I have to submit to my limitations, not only for my own physical well being, but now I am responsible for a life inside of me.
I am very thankful for my knowledge of prenatal and gentle yoga, so that I can modify my poses.
Starting November 1st, I will join the ranks as I lead a gentle/prenatal class. If you can relate to the need for a gentler practice, come join me!
Oftentimes when I prepare a class, there is an even mix of strategic planning and spontaneous spiritual leading. Recently I shared a verse from Psalm with my class and I admitted it was something that was on my heart but I didn’t explain why. Now I want to take the opportunity to open a door for you, into the heart behind the yogi. Continue Reading…