Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yoga As Prayer

“Let’s begin in child’s pose, “she says.  A roomful of men and women begin settling in on their knees.  They sit their behinds on their feet and fold their torso over their legs with their arms spread forward and their foreheads touching their mats.  I join them.  Breathing deeply, I think of the article I read in an older issue of Conversations Journal a few weeks ago. 

David Morris wrote about the body at prayer saying,

“I fully expected my first truly intentional prostration to “speak” submission and lowliness, perhaps even humiliation, which is what such a posture looks like from the outside.  What happened was a total surprise.  As my torso bowed forward, head touching the ground, I felt surrounded by a great Vastness and deeply at peace.  Stretching forward to lie prostrate, everything in me felt very safe in surrendering completely to God.  Lying in this position, it seemed both easy and joyful to relax into grace.  More than that, both the Vastness and the grace seemed to penetrate my flesh and touch my heart, wooing me deeper into a relationship I both yearn for and mightily resist.” 
I remember thinking to myself, “This sounds like child’s pose.” 

Now, as I sit in child’s pose, I think about God.  I relax into His grace. I want to meet Him here, on the yoga mat.  So as the yoga instructor says, “Set an intention for the class.”  This is mine.  I want this class to be prayer-full.  A time to meet with Jesus.

So as we go through the vinyasas, the poses that stretch, the poses that strengthen, the poses for balance, my mind is set on something.  It is set on Christ.  As I hold a pose and begin to struggle I ask him to meet me here.  I breathe deep and relax into his presence.  I make my body movements a prayer of worship.  And when we’re lying in savasana just before the end of class, I think on what I read in 1 John 2:3 earlier today, “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.”  I let the words sink deep.  I ask God to hide them in my heart.  I ask Him to help me to live them. 

In this class, I practice yoga as prayer.

And as I do, I practice yoga in a way that honors God.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek to go through each moment mindful of the presence of Christ.  May it be a beautiful prayer of waiting on Him, of talking with Him, of responding to the Spirit’s promptings.  Whether we are in a yoga studio or somewhere else entirely may we find the rhythm full of an abundance of joy.

Jessica :)

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