Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Being Formed through Physicality

For several weeks now, my wife has tried to get me to join her during a yoga class on Monday and Wednesday nights. Seeing as how I have class on Monday nights, I couldn't give another excuse this week so I went with her. Actually I wanted to go because I don't exercise like I used to, now that I have a 8-5 job plus I heard that yoga is very relaxing.

Let me give you a picture: A tall slender fellow with bright blonde hair standing awkwardly above all the ladies and a few men in a studio room with mirrors lining the walls, barefoot and slightly nervous that I'll make a fool out of myself or fall on the hard wood floor trying to do the "dancer pose" of whatever it was called. Well, I actually enjoyed it. I'm pretty sore today, which is a good sign seeing as how I haven't worked out since being married. In an odd way it was extremely relaxing because it helped me focus on my breathing. But for some reason after class, this old image came back to haunt me. (Yoga Flame)

*Dhalsim, for all you Street Fighter Fans*

Being introduced to the relaxing, meditative practice of yoga, I went back and read apart of Doug Pagitt's book concerning spiritual formation through physicality.

"Sometimes we hold a pose so long and focus so hard that I must remind students to breathe. Breath that flows in and out is essential for a body to move and flex. A body in which breath is held looks rigid, as if it's trying to hold on to everything. But a body in which breath flows has a face of contentment and easiness. I'm often struck by how difficult it is to remember to breathe. It is our most unconscious action, and yet we can forget how to do it well when our minds are busy with other things."

At the end of our session, the instructor turns out the lights and we lay on our backs and let all our muscles and joint relax. Breathing becomes almost rhythmic as gentle music softly pours forth from the speakers overhead.

"This state of being is holy. It is at this time that we become closer to God, aware of our bodies, of the divine. The clutter that competes with God's presence in our lives has fallen away, and we are open to God's love and God's will. We are soft and vulnerable, knowing that we get stuck, and we thank God for this opportunity to get unstuck."
Amen. Until next Wednesday, I'll have to work on my "downerward dog" and Yoga Fire.