College required no physicality, but there was a state of the gym. It was free to students, and there was a general mix of feeling obligated, enjoying the facility and taxpayer guilt amongst the college girlfriends I used the facility with. So we attempted regular workouts with some of us being more faithful than others. (To let you know who the unfaithful one was, my college girlfriends completed bi-country marathons this past Fall.) It was back in college where I began to think of stair machines and nautical equipment as strange instruments of human self-hatred. I never got anything besides inferiority from them.
Later, when my lips, hips and thighs soul sister, Oprah, knew she had to get serious about physical fitness for longevity and health, I knew I had to as well. Thus I picked the least offensive, seemingly soft form of physical fitness — yoga.
So, you wonder, where was God in all this?
Yoga is a wonderfully private practice in that things are noticed within in subtle ways. There were years of brokenness inside of me because of the other layers I experienced with my physicality — bullying and teasing and the constant feeling of being fat and not good enough. During the five years I spent in classes before I took teacher training I intentionally brought the Holy Spirit in with me to class, knowing I was breathing Him in and out. The anxiety of carrying my emotions about myself for so long lessened. I had many awakenings of worth — tender touches from God placed upon the uniqueness of my identity in Him. Physical healing happened. Issues with a left hip and knee mended, my posture changed and I just began to breathe deeper. Life began to widen with experience. I was learning to meditate with this gift of my body and it made me stronger mentally, spiritually and physically. There was no testing, no comparisons and no other voices telling my how to be — just my body, my breath and the Holy Spirit.
The affects became evident in my life. I found a way to keep my endorphin levels up during the long, dark Michigan Winters.I was able to be less withdrawn and more confident. I was shedding emotional and physical weight. My spiritual life shifted into calmness and deep intimacy with Christ. And I had to share this experience with others, so I took yoga teacher training.
What began after that was a wilder ride of finding the parallels and embracing the paradoxes of yoga and Christianity. They really have more in common than they do not. Stick with me here and I will show you.