- The Rev. Lisa M. Zaina
- Apr 06, 2017
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Twenty years ago I began to do a lot of yoga. I really enjoyed it and was able to do a number of different poses, challenging my balance, flexibility, and core. I always looked forward to my yoga time at the gym. There was always more than the physical component, and I enjoyed the spiritual piece as well.
Almost 15 years ago I had surgery during which part of my abdominal muscle was moved under my arm to provide the blood supply for my reconstruction. I joke with people and laugh about the fact that I don’t have a six pack (muscle) because I can’t have a six-pack. But, believe me, I’ve neither had a six-pack, nor will I ever have a three-pack!
After my surgery, I couldn’t do many of the poses that were once easy for me to do. As I would tell people, I wasn’t very good at yoga, and so I decided to quit doing it. Now, remember, what I said about how I was drawn to the spiritual component as well? Well, clearly, I hadn’t learned enough from that.
I was turning the practice of yoga into a competition…with myself. Oh yeah, I’m also competing with the really athletic person next to me who is half my age. But, I would have better served myself, and my God, by living into the awareness that came with the practice, continuing to allow my body to do what it was doing, even though I was no longer “good” at it.
For the first time in almost fifteen years, I have begun to take yoga again. Anyone who is my age, or older, knows that when it comes to physical activity, that can be like a lifetime.
The other day, the yoga instructor read something to us about flexibility. She encouraged us to not become discouraged with the level of flexibility that we have, but to acknowledge and accept it by living into it. This practice is by no means a retreat, or a defeat, for that matter. It is actually aspirational. By doing these things, we are relaxing into what we have, and who we are, being the best we can be with the gifts that we have.
I think that this provides a great way of living into every day of our lives, but particularly as a Lenten spiritual practice. So many people feel paralyzed by the events that are swirling around us as a community of faith, a city, a state, a nation, and a world. Many will say to me that they are distraught because they feel the strain and pressure of the happenings. They say that there is nothing that they can do.
But, we all are given different gifts that will allow us to bring comfort to a hurting heart or a wounded soul.
In this season of Lent, what if we all were to recognize what gifts we have to offer, feeling grateful for them, and offering them to those around us. Just like a yoga practice, the more we live into what we have, the more we are able to offer.
In Sanskrit, the word yoga can be defined as to add, to join, to unite, or to attach.
As we look to the close of our forty days of Lent, and beyond, let’s add to the betterment of our surroundings, join with others to give thanks, unite to worship, and attach ourselves more deeply to our God.