Not so long ago I made the suggestion to my beloved that we should take a yoga class together that is offered at the “Y” next door to the church. You read this correctly: yoga…together. I have never taken yoga in my life but I did as a kid love the television series Kung Fu and the characters often looked like they could at least lead a class in yoga, but I digress…
Last Friday we started our first yoga class. I figured how bad could this be? I am in good shape, jog regular and lift weights. Yoga is just stretching, right? Amy and I joined a group of ladies (yep, I am the only man in this class, but I am okay with that) who were all far more experienced than the two of us. I have to admit that the class itself was not that bad. True, I have the balance of a hippo on a high wire. At times the instructor would have us place our legs in positions that my body has never seen except for that time I fell off of a silo as a kid. But other than some rather impossible contortions and strange positions, it was not so bad. I barely broke a sweat.
The next day, however, is another story. I was hurting in places I did not know existed with muscles I did not know I needed! I did a little reading on yoga and discovered that its history goes back to ascetic practices in the Hindu tradition. “Oh,” I am thinking to myself, “it is suppose to hurt.” Well, not really. I am in pain in part because I am not in as good of shape as I thought and I am utilizing muscles that have been, well, neglected.
Like piano, painting, singing, typing, and now I know, yoga, much of life can be reduced to “use it or lose it.” We cannot cultivate an interior life if we do not pray. We cannot treasure love if we do not demonstrate love. We cannot know peace if there is no peace in our own actions.
To follow Jesus is more than an assent to good beliefs. It is about good practices.
Grow, stretch, reach – these are the suggested verbs of our discipleship. We are salt and light, so says Jesus, therefore season the lives around you with the ways of Christ’s mercy; shine God’s love to friend and stranger alike. You have been created in God’s image. Now go reflect the Almighty!
Stretching forward and alongside,
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)