Gratitude Practise…

As a Christian when I practise yoga I use it as a moving meditation.

It settles my mind and strengthens my body

while keeping me reflective and flexible.

It’s a time to pray while learning how to breathe in a contemplative way.

It’s a time to work hard and sweat, without leaving my mat, or my house.

I’ve been a yogi for ten years and the benefits have been obvious especially when I’m consistent, which I have been during this time of sheltering.

Gratitude

When I scan my joints during my morning walk I find that my aches and pains are gone.

I think I’ve reached another level of listening,

to my instructor and my body.

Perhaps, as St Benedict said to his monks, I’ve started listening with the ear of my heart.

My lack of aches is not due to medication, I rarely take anything, ask my children,

“Drink more water,” I’ll say, or, “go outside!”

I think it’s due to an adjustment in my perspective.

Years ago I remember hearing at church (for the first time it seemed) that,

“Jesus is our Lord and Saviour,”

I had been married to my blue-eyed cowboy for a couple of years.

“I can’t possibly have attended mass every week for as long as I can remember,” I remarked to him, “without hearing that message before.”

I was a convent schoolgirl after all,

“Either it was never said,” I continued with a shake of my head, “or I just hadn’t grasped it as it flew over my head!”

And there I was, this faithful cradle-Roman-Catholic apparently hearing, for the first time at thirty-something, the message of salvation!

I had begun to listen with my heart’s ear not my logically critical head.

Now I’m finding the same with yoga.

It’s not that I’ve been doing it incorrectly all these years, I’ve been layering the tools,

setting an intention,

murmuring a mantra,

breathing through a challenging flow.

As a dancer though, who took daily classes for a number of decades and performed in many a musical and Nutcracker, I had not fully learned how to gently fold into an asana, a shape, a pose.

Classical ballet is not about flopping around like a rag doll it’s about moving with ease while tightening every muscle in the body causing strain and lifelong damage to knees, hips, back and feet.

It left me with an indelible mindset of rigidity and tension.

A discipline that looks graceful behind the forced smile of clenched teeth.

Gratitude2

This week I heard one of my instructors say,

“Now relax forward through the space, only go as far as is comfortable.”

I was not to hold on to my breath, I was to lengthen and slowly coax my heart forward and ease my spine out of my pelvis and through the space whether I was leaning forward in a seated position or perfecting a graceful Humble Warrior.  The trick was to melt the moving parts and trust the anchors (my legs and core) to hold me steady.

My back stopped hurting as the muscles and tendons around my bones started to unwind and allowed me to grow a little.  It was quite a revelation.

I must’ve been given the instructions before but this week I heard them differently.

At the end of class we were gentled into finding something to be grateful for,

Something I’d done that day.

I’d been able to release the tension in my body,

to unclench my teeth,

and breathe through the most challenging of poses.

I was grateful for that.

God and Yoga fit together in an asana of their own that carries me through life.

A soothing balm for body and soul.

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1 Comments

Billy Bullard

2020-08-28 16:40:53 Reply

I needed to hear this today , Thank you

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