Monday, July 11, 2011

Yoga and Prayer

I like motion, especially the forward variety. I remember cross country in high school when the coach made us run backwards to strengthen different muscles. It made me feel off balance, unsure, and I hated it. Parts of starting a consistent yoga practice are making me feel the same way.

Apparently I'm a rock star at "power sequences" per my yoga instructor. I love the warrior poses and variations. I like the sun salutation. And even though it makes me feel like I'm at a zoo sometimes, I love the animal poses - cat, dog, cobra, eagle, camel, fish, turtle and rabbit.

She suggested today that we incorporate more open poses. It didn't surprise me that they were hard flexibility wise, but I wasn't prepared for how brutal they would be emotionally. It was amazing how fast my mind raced to find a reason why I couldn't stay in these poses. Did they hurt? No. Were they hard? Yes, but not too hard. Yikes. What was it?

Somewhere mid pigeon pose I said, "I can't do it."

She calmly (of course) replied, "You are doing it."


I said, "Okay. I don't want to."

Wisely she said, "Now that we can work with."

Turns out I'm a control freak (shocking!) and poses that invite vulnerability, letting go, calmness and peace are contrary to the stubbornness of every single cell in my body. In that moment I watched everything I'm trying to work on spiritually line up with that moment on the yoga mat.

She said, "If you want we can take all of these poses out of the sequence."

After I told the "Yippee!" that jumped through my brain to shut it, I said, "No. I'd love to go that route but I'm convinced that running away from hard things isn't the answer to anything."

She said, "I knew you would say that. And you're going to find through yoga and in your relationship with God that holding on securely to the things that matter always involves letting go. In these poses you're not only letting go to breathe deeper into the move, you're letting go. Period."

I transitioned into savasana and prayed, "God, help me to let go of everything but You."

And that's a prayer that's only started to be answered.