Last night at sacred yoga I finally got it! Over the years I have ‘done’ yoga fairly regularly after being introduced to it via P90X. But, last night, I finally got the ‘it’ of it all. Temitope, our spiritual guide/teacher/instructor led us through a series of poses and flows, all the while offering us gentle spoken reminders of our breath, this sacred, quiet life-giving force that surges through our body; our breath, with us from the first moment of this thing we call our life, until our very last.
During a particularly difficult pose he said something to the effect of ‘don’t lose your breath now and search for that stillness even in the midst of your struggle.’ It was a word of grace that brought me back to my inner center, my inner temple, the place where the quiet sacred presence of God dwells within each of us. In that moment I finally got it: even when your muscles are burning, your arms are shaking, even when sweat is dripping off your face and there are about a million other things within that are trying to demand your attention, something as ordinary and profound as remembering your breath can be an opportunity to commune with the one who breathes into us the breath of life.
In this way our sacred yoga is similar to other practices like centering prayer: where we find our center dwelling in God’s presence through a simple anchor word or our breath. In centering prayer we attempt to clear the clutter of our overactive, overstimulated brains and to simply become aware of God’s abiding love. After your centering prayer practice, as you go about your day, and the stresses of life start to creep into your heart, a gentle and soft reminder of your centering word or remembering your breath can draw you back toward your inner stillness, your quiet center, where the holy resides.
Our sacred yoga ministry at simple church is like centering prayer while in downward facing dog. It has become one of my new spiritual practices. Yoga, for me, is no longer just about personal vanity or physical health, but about cultivating a more calm, centered and compassionate life.
2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, 6-7pm