The Transformation of My Yoga Practice….
A few months ago, I was in yoga class practicing a balancing pose. Normally I find a focal point on the wall to help maintain my balance. For some reason, I became fixated on a crazy design on someone’s shirt. That person fell, and, of course, I lost my balance as well. I felt the Lord say gently to me, “If your drishti is on man, you will fall.”
Drishti is a yoga term which means focus or concentration. It not only refers to focus while you are holding a posture (or asana) in yoga, but also refers to focus when you are off the mat. Part of what originally drew me to yoga was the physical practice and its similarity to dance. As a former dancer in my younger years, I was familiar with finding a focal point during any move that required balance. Although, I was not quite so focused outside of dance.
I have been practicing yoga for about 15 years, and only more recently has it become much more than physical. The stress of walking through a difficult season lead me to discover yoga in a new light. I was not managing my stress in a healthy way, and it was taking a toll on me physically, mentally and spiritually. I was diligent about seeking my quiet time almost every day and studying the Bible, but I was still struggling. I needed an outlet.
Although I continue to enjoy the physical aspect of yoga, I now know that breathing, meditating on God’s word, and resting in his presence, both on and off the mat are a vital part of practicing yoga. My faith has become intertwined with my practice because I can utilize my heart, mind, body and soul in worship. Yoga is a way for me to focus and connect with God, withdrawing temporarily from the noise and confusion of the outside world while exercising and relieving stress at the same time. I can come to Him on my mat (or off) with whatever is in my heart and know that I’m truly loved and accepted just as I am. My mat has become my safe place, my sanctuary.
Where do you run when you are sad, stressed out? What’s your process for making both simple and difficult choices? Where is your focus? I think sometimes we aren’t even aware that we divide our lives into things we can do by ourselves and things that require God’s help. In one of the Jesus Calling devotionals, it states, “Don’t seek to be self-sufficient and do things without my help. Learn to rely on me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.”
Psalm 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Through yoga I have learned to love and care for myself in a way that I previously thought was selfish. I can become refreshed through my practice so that I have more to give off the mat to those around me. I now see many transitions over the last few years that have led to this transformation.
This year I decided to take it a step further and go through yoga teacher training. I want to share my story and my faith with others; although at times I’m sure it won’t be perfect or as graceful as I’d like. I think when we have the courage to be imperfect and make mistakes in our journey, not only do we learn, we encourage others to do the same. Growth is about being vulnerable enough to be open to new experiences and knowledge, even after 50. It’s about engaging with my inner most self so that I can better engage with the world around me. In my brokeness, my hope is that His light shines through.
God’s light shines greater through “cracked pots” than it does through those who have it all together. ~ Joyce Meyer
Stay tuned – Coming soon! Whole-heartedyoga.com
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