Friday, January 19, 2007

Lessons Learned in Yoga Class

I went to yoga this week. While it was surprising to my sister and some friends, it was my first time attending a yoga class.

The class started at 5:30, and I reported to the gym a few minutes early. I walked into the studio, disappointed to discover that the room was nearly full, leaving the only remaining space at the front of the room, just beneath the only light illuminated in the entire room -- you get the picture!

I unrolled my mat, removed my shoes (forgetting to remove my socks!), and placed my body on the ground with all the other classmates. We started breathing together, an exercise that I loved as I was reminded to pay attention to my breathing patterns. Breathe in through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. My stomach muscles were in tune. My body was in tune. My nose and my mouth were in tune. The class then continued.

We pushed our bodies up using our arms and our legs. We lifted our legs in the air for a few minutes and then our arms. We did a variety of poses, all of which were new to me. I was doing fine for a while. I was doing fine until the instructor started to do things that I knew my body could never do. She lifted her entire weight on her head and her elbows in an upside down position. I was amazed! Thankfully, she did not stay there for long before returning to something that I could do.

"Breathe in. Breathe out. Pay attention to the air flowing in and out of your body," she kept saying. When I was paying attention to my breathing, I had an easier time doing the different exercises. When I forgot about my breathing, I was miserable, checking the time and counting the remaining minutes until class ended.

"Breathe in. Breathe out. Pay attention to your breathing." These simple words made everything so much easier. These words told me what I needed to get through the class.

Since returning to the office this week, I have found myself running around in an effort to do everything expected of me. I have been a salesperson this week, promoting some of the church's remaining items on Craigslist. I have been an advertising executive this week, painting over some of the church's banners and hanging them on our new fence for all to see. I have been a pastor this week, praying at the bedside of a parishioner recovering from surgery. I have been a developer this week, pushing for the new schedule on which our building redevelopment will occur. And, I have been a 30 something young adult, trying to have fun with friends at various points in the week.

There have been times when I remembered to pay attention to the source of my being -- to the One who enables me to breathe. There have been other times this week when I tried to accomplish too much on my own, doing a little of everything but doing nothing particularly well.

There is no way I could ever get through a yoga class without paying attention to my breathing. Likewise, there is no way I can possibly get through any day well without paying attention to the One who makes each day possible --without beginning each day and sometimes each hour with prayer, allowing this One to flow through me, controlling my words, my thoughts and my actions.

I'll try yoga again next week. For now, I am going to go spend some time in prayer. There are just too many difficult things to do and accomplish in the coming days, and I need to pay attention to my spiritual journey.

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