Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us-eternal life.
I John 2:24-25.
What I Learned From My Yoga Tree
I wobbled. I shook. I leaned over and planted my foot on the ground, regained my balance and started all over again. Left leg straight. Right foot to ankle, calf or inner thigh. Arms overhead. Breathe in. Breathe out.
Remain steady? No wobbling? No way!
My body is stiff and tight from many years of running with very little stretching. My calves, hamstrings, and hips have been crying out a long time now to be released from the tension I put them under running multiple half marathons and 5Ks during the year. Adding weight lifting to my already tense tendons, hasn’t helped the situation.
I knew I needed regular stretching and strengthening.
So, in June I started doing yoga at the YMCA.
I had considered trying yoga for a long time, but the fear of looking ridiculously stiff in a room filled with flexible Lululemon yoga pants kept me outside of the studio. But, with the encouragement of a friend, a class that fit my schedule, and my favorite YMCA instructor leading it, I donned my Old Navy yoga crop pants and started my summer of stretching.
Yoga is hard.
Flexibility is hard.
Balance is hard.
Did I say, yoga is hard?
Focus is the key to it.
Yoga requires tuning out the distractions around you, letting go of the tensions in your body, suspending your self-conscious concern and leaning into the movements. I can’t relax if I am worried someone is looking at me or if I am looking at them.
I am learning.
I am learning to tune out the distraction of my perceived awkwardness in the midst of the graceful.
I am learning.
I am learning to still my heart and body through breathing, focus, and movement. I am learning to tune into and release the tension my body is tightly holding in different places. I am learning to untie the overused twisted tendons and knots of stress I have tied around my back, neck, shoulders, and hamstrings.
I am learning.
I am learning to improve my balance. I am learning to steady myself in an unbalanced position by fixing my eyes on an immovable object instead of focusing on my quivering legs and arms. I am learning to become physically stable, not because of me, but because of the object on which I am focused.
I John 2:24-25 describes spiritual stability. Spiritual stability that comes by connecting the word abide to our relationship with God and the promise of eternal life. John states that if we allow what we know to be true to abide (adhere, comply, rule, keep, stay) in us, then we abide (dwell, last, remain stable) in the Son and the Father. In other words, when we fix our wobbling hearts and minds on the immovable object of God and His word, we become stable in our faith. Just like I stop wobbling in yoga when I fixate on a spot that is not moving, we can remain steady in faith because God and his truth doesn’t move even when we quiver. When our world is unbalanced our steadiness comes from fixing our eyes, not on our circumstances, but on the truth of God’s word.
Hebrews 12:2 describes faith steadying focus this way, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus the author, and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus was able to endure all that He did because He was focused on one unwavering truth. In the same way, we can remain steadfast in our faith when we focus on the constant truths of God’s word and not the unstable circumstances that surround us.
So, if your faith is feeling a little shaky today, think about how I have to steady my yoga tree by focusing on a static spot on the wall, then pick a truth from God’s word and focus on it. Breathe it in and out allowing God’s immovable truth to quiet your quivering heart.
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Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.