Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Yoga, while an excellent way to build strength and flexibility, draws on deep roots in Eastern spirituality. Even my Android app enjoined me, at the end of my practice, to "let your body assimilate the deep transformation". If one were to take a yoga class at Hosanna, one would find this element to be largely (and intentionally) ignored. Surely, we think, we can start at the trunk of this tree. Cut it off from its terrible pagan roots and just get a good workout.
As you may have guessed, I do not entirely hold with this viewpoint. Otherwise, I wouldn't be talking about it now. While I agree that we have to be careful to keep our focus on Jesus and not on our chakras or karma or whatever, I firmly believe that we are meant to live in our bodies. The Christian story has a lot to say about our physicality. Like the rest of us, our muscles and blood and skin are wondrously woven, though subsequently corrupted, and someday we will be restored to perfect health in new bodies. I have, from my Eastern Orthodox days, an image of Mary holding the baby Jesus. Though I don't pray to Mary, I love the image because it is a picture of the Incarnation and a reminder that we don't become spirit or transcend our flesh in order to be nearer to God. It is the other way around; He takes on a body to get closer to us.
I like yoga because it reminds me to inhabit my body well without denying that I am more than a body. My 'self' is more than synapses firing in a wad of brain trying to make sense of the tide of electrical impulses it receives. I am both body and spirit, and, as in dance, each informs the other.
Naturally, I have to make some modifications to the usual curriculum of a yoga class. While Eastern thought has a great understanding of some things, it still needs to be redeemed. So I play a game: translating yogaese into Theology. While I am supposed to be pondering "the balance of light and dark within myself", I contemplate the tension between the "old man" and the "new creation" within myself. When told to "allow my body to assimilate the deep transformation" at the end of class, I pray for God to help me live up to what I have already attained. With my deep breaths through my nose, I pray after the Orthodox fashion,
"Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the living God
have mercy on me,
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I want to live to be 111, since on 01/01/01 I’ll be eleventy-one. I want to die full of grace, old and full of years. I want my husband to be there with me to the end; being part of me as much as my bones. I want people to sing hymns of praise to God at my funeral and to have held my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and have helped to raise them up to love God and sing to Him and serve Him and abide in Him. I want to be a thick, strong branch in a tree rooted in God and watered with life, blessed with a boring testimony. I want to surrender my legacy to my creator. I can’t think of anything more I have to give. I feel the potential in my belly for influence spanning on through history, my progeny infiltrating the Earth, each claiming some small corner for Christ.
Likewise, I look down and see the branches that support me – in places clean, smooth bark forking into innumerable branches, elsewhere sadly withered, ripe for the axe. and elsewhere still, a glorious patchwork of grafted branches bearing fruit and branching out still further until our canopy forms a banner proclaiming Christ and His truth and His love, His mercy and grace, inviting, beckoning, and soothing the scorched and battle-scarred Earth with His healing shade.