The Wonder of Yoga…

As a Christian I am often asked if I think the discipline of Yoga goes against my faith?

I sincerely hope not because Yoga, like nothing else, enhances my prayer-life.

As a lay counsellor I am often asked how to pray.

I can suggest the prayer Jesus taught his disciples (Matthew 6:9-13) which I use to calm my nerves when they are strung so tightly I feel as though I am going to come loose and scatter all over the universe.

Prayer can be found in many forms like the Divine Office, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross and the Jesus prayer.  Liturgical churches are rich with these valuable tools.

Prayer is like balm for the soul.

But what do you do when you can’t pray, or don’t know how to, or are way too wound up to concentrate on a Rosary or the Passion, or don’t have the words of the prayers at hand?

Take heart, just being quiet is a form of prayer and can be soothing when coupled with deep intakes and exhalations of breath.

Walking a Labyrinth works too, so does simple walking… to anywhere…and moving furniture or cooking.

But it is my yoga mat, with online teachers, that has deepened my prayer life and gently changed the way I practice my faith.

Yoga has taught me how to escape my thoughts.

How to depart from anything that bothers me to a totally safe place where there is nothing pressing that needs to be done; a place where I can completely BE for an hour.

I have taught about taking charge of our thoughts but without meditation (which no-one seems to have time for anymore) the awareness that gives us dominion over our brooding minds bringing us into the present moment, eludes us.

There is an action to accompany my cooling down in the middle of the night when I awaken smothered by anxiety.

Unwilling to leave the tactile comfort of my bed and seek the solace of my yoga mat to deal with the discomfort of my racing mind, I stay where I am and lie flat on my back, place one hand on my belly and the other on my chest and breathe while reciting a short prayer.

This act, like moving furniture, walking or making a cup of tea, settles me and disperses my unbidden thoughts.

I learned this technique while lying in savasana at the end of a yoga class to prepare my body for re-entry into the world.

I feel my racing heart slow down and my belly relax as my breaths become measured.

I feel my mind go blank and I am able to dwell in my imago Dei and surrender to God while sleep creeps in to reclaim me once more.

Om.

Savasana

 

 

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3 Comments

Pamela

2015-01-21 17:45:54 Reply

This post reminds me so wonderfully why you are my best friend.

    Vivienne

    2015-01-21 23:03:41 Reply

    How lovely! Thanks Pamela for being my best friend too!

elray mac

2015-01-21 23:20:43 Reply

Ommmm – Myyyyy

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