I am not very good, and I don’t do it nearly enough, but I really enjoy yoga. I took my first yoga class in college and immediately realized its benefits for health, overall strength, muscle conditioning, and relaxation. There are many parallels between wellness (physical and spiritual) and yoga and I think it is best described in the parable of seeds.
When a great crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from one city after another, he spoke to them in a parable: “A farmer went out to scatter his seed. As he was scattering it, some fell on the path where it was crushed, and the birds in the sky came and ate it. Other seed fell on rock. As it grew, it dried up because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorns grew with the plants and choked them. Still other seed landed on good soil. When it grew, it produced one hundred times more grain than was scattered.”
“The parable means this: The seed is God’s word. The seed on the path are those who hear, but then the devil comes and steals the word from their hearts so that they won’t believe and be saved. The seed on the rock are those who receive the word joyfully when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while but fall away when they are tempted. As for the seed that fell among thorny plants, these are the ones who, as they go about their lives, are choked by the concerns, riches, and pleasures of life, and their fruit never matures. The seed that fell on good soil are those who hear the word and commit themselves to it with a good and upright heart. Through their resolve, they bear fruit. ~ Luke 8:11-15 (CEB)
It wasn’t until recently, when I read this, that I realized I had been participating in my own version of holy yoga without realizing such a thing existed. When I am on my yoga mat, it’s as if I’m front of God. Each yoga class becomes another hour of worship, sometimes in prayer and other times listening for God’s still small voice. Yoga might seem easy, but looks can be deceiving. The true results of yoga are hidden beneath the surface: tendons and ligaments are stretched, stress and tension are released, and my focus is on breathing: inhale the good, exhale the bad. With each complete breath, I inhale God’s goodness and exhale tension, weakness, and worldly desires.
The same is true for my daily devotion time with God.
Most days, I approach my reading table with a to-do list a mile long and a rushed sense to get as much done while Kamden naps as possible. Yesterday, I remembered there were clothes in the washer that needed to be dried so I headed to the laundry room, but not before walking through the kitchen and noticing the dishwasher door was open, reminding me to put the clean dishes away. After unloading the clean dishes, I rinsed the plates and utensils from breakfast and lunch and put them in the dishwasher, wiped down the countertops, and swept the floor beneath Kamden’s high chair. Then I noticed a small Post-It note on the table with a quote I wanted to illustrate in my Journaling Bible. Oh yeah, my Bible. I’m supposed to be studying right now! Wait, did I put the clothes in the dryer? Did I remember to sit something out for supper? Did I return Mom’s call? I need to make a grocery list. I need to send those emails. Did I pay the water bill? Dad’s birthday is coming up, I need to mail his card. I need stamps from the post office. Look at the time! Kamden will be up in 30 minutes, I better start reading my Bible now.
Please tell me I’m not the only one with a smorgasbord of busy thoughts running through my head.
Please tell me I’m not the only one with a family of dust bunnies taking up residence in the corner of the living room.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets distracted by the busyness of life.
At the end of every yoga class, there is 10-15 minutes of silence. Though my body is spent from athletic poses and deep stretches, my mind is free of worry and to-do lists. I am tuned to God’s voice and listen. I am relaxed. My heart and ears are open to God.
I am a seed planted, cultivated, fertilized, and nourished in good soil.