Monday, September 22, 2008

Yogi am I

When people hear I do yoga twice a week (I'd do more but the schedule does not provide for that), they think a number of thoughts and as much as I do not believe anyone should feel obligated to explain the motivations behind their practice I am going to. Yoga is humbling, freeing and altogether for me a way to release tensions I hold against myself and say internally thank you and sorry and I love you all at the same time to myself. I'm thankful you bend, you move more or less freely, I am thankful for my health. I am sorry I make you do things you don't like, like wearing those shoes, sitting like that, eating that food, going without a constant intake of water and clear liquids. I love you, I am okay with you, with that little tummy part that pudges out when I'm bent over, or those toes that won't always behave, because you're me, I'm you and we're created as a being in it's entirety to be whole, free and at peace with the world and myself. There is a freedom in coming into that space and acknowledging all those parts, coming to love all the parts I fight with, all the parts I lament, and all those parts I should love more.

There was a poem read during shavasana tonight that I found interesting:

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~ David Wagoner ~

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelrays/2094861208/

8 comments:

Shawn said...

I will ask a question here, not being sarcastic or sneering at all, if anything a little ignorant. Do you use yoga to bring you to a meditative place which allows you to be in a more thoughtful and thankful prayer place, or to be in a more self-seeking place? I am just trying to understand the post a little more. You know I think it is great you go to yoga as much as you think it is great I run, I have always just had the question of how God fits in to the more "new age" philosophy of what a lot of yoga teaches. I know for me, with different types of counseling, often time meditation was used. Not all of these, in fact most, were coming from a counseling point of view a little more new age focused with inner healing that is complete self, without a focus of asking God to heal me. I learned that God was the only one who could fix me, heal me, make a really broken person a little less broken, and incorperated prayer into the meditation time. Just looking for your thoughts on this.

stepping over the junk said...

I wish I could be that quiet that long. I suppose I do when I paint. I wish I were getting stronger and more flexible at the same time but instead am creating.

Ryan said...

As a loving brother in Christ Jenn I have to admit that I'm a little concerned about your yoga, especially if it's making you love yourself more.

[Contrast this to the apostle Paul who died to self daily (1 Cor 15:31 & Gal 2:20).]

I know from my own personal experience that I used to have my own form of relaxation by going to the gym and working out every day, and yes it helped me love myself more too - I was ripped! ;)

But I never found true fulfilment, until the day I stopped thinking about myself and what God could do for me and turned and cried out, "God what can I do for you?"

Since then, about 3 years ago, I haven't stepped foot into a gym and I started helping out around the church more (odd jobs, cleaning, etc) and 2 years ago I started helping out in the youth ministry by becoming a leader.

And I've loved every minute of it, and wouldn't trade it for the world. I've even had to give up going to parties on Friday nights because I enjoy it *that* much! My only regret is that I wish I could've done it soooo much sooner. But better late than never.

Anyway, as someone who can see a little of his past in your life please consider my words as I truly do care about your walk with Christ and I wouldn't want you to be deceived thinking that yoga is helping your mind and body when it has far deeper implications on your spirit.

Jenn said...

Blogging and life in general does cause confusion for those outside of the immediate sphere.

Is yoga a place for me to dwell on myself, not as such, more so be amazed at the person who I've made to be, at the hands that created me, and how to respect that person. I haven't respected that person, I've fought with that person, I've hated her, I've bemoaned life, I've come to many point where life wasn't worth living and the hell that I have been living in for the last 10 years was something I had to deal with and at moments believed in some way I deserved.

I am at a place where full disclosure is not appropriate for this blog, if you wish to know details I would warn you but say you're free to leave me an email address. Yoga is a safe space for me to find peace and be surrounded with people in an environment where I feel safe - acquaintances are about all I have energy for right now. It is a transition place for many of the issues I will have to go through, it is a place where I can connect with God in a way that isn't overtly religious. I am not coming from or in a place where the Christian community has abundant understanding and given that my relationship with God is extremely fractured another overly Christian person in my life is not what I need. Volunteering? I did it for 3 years without a break when needed or help - I'm still burnt out.

As to exercise, I believe we have been given an opportunity to take care of ourselves and that exercise is not inherently a bad thing, like many things in life it can become an unhealthy focus. For me running is a way to start the day, release anger, stress and pain and breathe in the life I've been so richly blessed with despite the overall recognition of the shitty period I'm going through.

As an aside you mention that the lady you had been dating was in some way similar. Granted I don't know her reasons, but if she is remotely similar I would ask you on her behalf to aid her by finding a professional for her to talk to, there may be much you don't know and maybe honestly don't want to know about her life previous to you but out of grace direct her that way please.

Jenn said...

Shawn - we've discussed with but quite simply yoga is a place of peace it is the one place I have peace and security right now. As to the whole new age thing, the meditation comes at the end, the rest of the class when I'm not finding calm from the rhythm of my breath I'm struggling through postures and trying to find the good in who I am, in the sense of purpose of all those things I've mentioned.

SOTJ - flexibility is a little over rated, I admire you're painting, maybe we're each just blessed with a space we can express an aspect of ourselves, and part of that is accepting that it's different, yet still beautiful

Shawn said...

Fare enough.

Ryan said...

Hi Jenn,

Thanks again for your response. I'd be more than happy to hear the deeper issues. Maybe imparting some of your experiences can help a woman I'm in contact with down here. My email address can be found in my Blogger's profile (there's a link I've just added in there now).

I'm sorry to hear about your volunteering episodes - it's certainly something that isn't foreign to me within the church circle.

bethstedman said...

Jen, thanks for the comment you left on my blog - it's great to meet you and I'm excited about working with you on the project that Amber is starting. I can really relate to what you wrote about your experience with yoga (in the post and the comments) - I know that in a lot of circles (especially "Christian" one's) yoga can be frowned upon and I have felt that frown before too, but I wouldn't trade the personal experiences I have had with yoga and with God through yoga for anything. All that to say be encouraged - your not alone :)