I dismissed yoga as a bizarre cult thing almost a decade ago after I attended my first class.
It was at a free class at a Lulumon store in Austin, TX. I, being a grad student at the time, was all for anything free. It was a Saturday morning and the room was packed. It smelled funky in there, you know like body funkiness.
The class was led by a skinny shirtless guy who played the piano accordion (yes, thats a real thing), and a girl who led us through visions and poses. People were real into it, humming and groaning the whole time. The class concluded with a group effort to “heal all the sickness in the world.” We were instructed to fill the room with pretend bubbles…tons and tons of bubbles. Once the room was completely full, we released the bubbles everywhere in the world in order to make disease, “very, very, not possible.”
It was then that I decided, that it was very, very, possible that yoga was NOT my thing.
And it remained NOT my thing for a long time. I ran to stay fit. I did two full marathons and at least twenty half marathons over the following years. All painfully slow.
Fast forward to last fall
I was attending a women’s retreat at my church when I saw “Holy Yoga” on the agenda. Immediately, I had flash backs of the time we filled the Lulumon store with imaginary-disease-eradicating bubbles. And that was plain yoga, so yeah, I could only imagine how uncomfortable “Holy yoga” was going to be.
If I could’ve snuck out the back door with no one noticing, I would have. But I’m glad I didn’t.
Holy Yoga was a refreshing surprise. We didn’t chant or hum or groan, we kept our minds on God and scripture while doing basic poses. When we finished, I felt strong. So thankful for my body. I was ten weeks pregnant at the time, and in that class I realized I could endure the next 30 weeks and even child birth.
Soon after, I found a local prenatal yoga class and also began attending weekly. Yoga was very instrumental in helping me stay in tune with my body during pregnancy.
After Ray was born, I found myself missing yoga
Missing the time I used to take to check in with my body, mind and spirit. I began doing Youtube yoga workouts and eventually found myself back at the little studio where I took my prenatal classes.
Yoga has challenged physically many times. To the point of shaky muscles, sweat, being frustrated with how inflexible I am. And the soreness. Oh, the soreness.
Pictured here is my crow pose, one I’ve been working on mastering for a while now and it still has some tweaking to go.
But recently I recognized a bigger challenge.
The challenge to be intentional
At the beginning of each class we are asked to set an intention. Not imaginary bubbles or weird noises, but a single intention that we’ll keep our focus on for the following hour. It can be anything. I always chose something biblical. A few of my recent ones are: grace, healing, forgiveness, and peace.
I am so NOT good at keeping one concept on my mind for a full hour.
But I’ve gotten better with practice. Slowly, I’ve noticed that I can hold the concept longer and longer. Its like it unfolds to me. This practice led me to begin thinking about all the other areas of my life where intention is fleeting at best.
Instead of trying to tackle everything, I’ve realized that I need to be intentional even with being intentional. So, I’ve chosen one thing to focus on for now:
Being intentional with reading scripture on a daily basis.
I wish I already did this. But I don’t. I’ll update you as I figure out my action steps. I can promise it doesn’t include a 5 AM quiet time, because that just aint happening. But I do have a few ideas in mind and I’m looking forward to implementing them.
I promise an update on sweet baby Ray and the woes of pumping on the road soon. Thank you ALL for your advice. It is going better, by the way. I’ve upped the amount of times I pump. Not exactly what I wanted to spend an extra 40 minutes a day on, but at least it’s effective.
Until then, my challenge to you is to keep the idea of being intentional in mind, and have a wonderful, relaxing Sunday.