I’ve started doing yoga again. It’s been a long time. In so many ways I’ve discovered that I’m a lot less flexible than I used to be, so it felt like a good time to get started again.
But here’s the thing. I don’t like super cheesy yoga. I want it to feel like a workout, and I want to be able to meet God on my mat without fighting against phrases and meditations and intentions that work against where my heart needs to be. I’m really skeptical of most yoga programs and figured I might do a day or two and then give up. Again.
That was more than a week ago, and here I am. Still spending 30 minutes on my mat in the mornings after Madi heads to school. I’m doing the free “3 Week Yoga Retreat” that is currently on Beachbody on Demand. The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind and it’s been so good to take time to pray and get centered with God each morning before diving into work and hustle and to-do lists.
Even if the workout you’re doing isn’t specifically a “Christian” program, God will still meet you in it. We just have to be intentional about seeking Him there.
Before I push play I pray. I ask God to work through my heart as I work out my muscles. I keep short Scripture quotes and artwork around to focus on – because it’s my brain and my practice and I’m not obligated to focus on the things the instructor encourages. I shared on Instagram the other day that there were two really meaningful moments during my yoga practice.
One happened when Elise pointed out the difference between ego and integrity. Ego is pushing ourselves to look impressive while potentially harming ourselves in the process. Integrity is slowing down and working within our gifts and limits – doing our best without needing to look like the best.
You guys. The work God did in my heart in that moment was so beautiful. There is freedom in realizing that we can do our best with a servant’s heart, knowing that our recognition will come from God alone. We can look a mess, make mistakes, fall over, fail, and – with a humble heart – we can still be a blessing.
Here’s the second piece of the practice that encouraged my heart: we cannot make room for what God has next, His new things, our next seasons, if we refuse to lay down the baggage we’re carrying from our old life. God calls us to be transformed, He promises to make all things new, and unless we make room in our hearts and our lives for those things to happen, we won’t be able to receive the fullness of His grace.
We can fail and fall over, but we aren’t obligated to stand back up and carry those failures around our necks like a new identity. We can shake them off, learn from them, and stand back up ready to be transformed.
God can meet us anywhere. Where will you meet Him today?
Heather Dixon says
Agreed! As a Christian and a yoga teacher, I feel you. It takes a lot of discernment to practice yoga as a Christian. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent on my mat sorting the chatter heard from the teacher through my is-this-Biblical-or-not filter. But I also think it is good practice for being in the world and not of it. As Christians, we filter the world on a daily basis. What we do on the mat is no different. And so much of what is done in the yoga practice is simply about creating space…space to breath, space to move, space to allow for something new to blossom. I love your insight that in order to experience it, we have to make room for what God is preparing for us next. Changed from the inside out, indeed.
“Yeah for mistakes,” I tell my son. They are learning opportunities. As you say, shake them off, learn from them and stand up ready to be transformed. Thanks for the reminder. We need to remember this daily.
Susan Mulder says
I loved this! I practice hot yoga 2-3 times a week and can disappear into the practice and breathe so prayerfully at times-unless I’m in crow and then all I am praying about is not falling on my face…again. So much of it is about finding your balance-that center where your body pulls in and works together in harmony. And, finding ‘center’ is all that more beautiful when we know Who our center really is! Thank you!!
Mary Jo says
Crystal, you never cease to amaze me. You have so much wisdom for someone as young as you. God has blessed you, so you can bless others. Thank you for your words, not just today but every day. (from an 59 year old gal)
Crystal Stine says
You’re so kind, Mary Jo! Thank you so much 🙂 That made my day!