Monday, April 15, 2013

The Christian Mind Meets the Yoga Mat

I love Yoga. I enjoy how my body feels afterwards. 

However, I worship the Creator of the sun.  (Job 38-41) 

As I move through Yoga exercises at home or in class in my head the routine goes something like this:  

Come to your mat. Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position.
Arms outstretched, palms up on knees. 

Breathe slowly and evenly through your nose. Begin to breathe deeper and meditate on the following Scripture verse:

Genesis 2:7
“the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.”

Without oxygen we would die within a few minutes.

God is our source, and His oxygen is vital for life.

Job 33:4
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Embrace an eternal perspective.

Psalm 39:5 
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.  Each man’s life is but a breath.

Breathing deep cleansing breaths supply the body and organs with oxygen. It is an easy way to rid ourselves of waste products, toxins, recharge our batteries, and rejuvenate the skin.

Lift your shoulders to your ears and then pull them back and down your back. Reach the crown of your head up to the ceiling and root your pelvic bones down to the ground, stretching your spine long and straight. Be still. I have heard it described like being “a candle flame in a windless environment.”

There are many “be still” and “wait” passages to meditate pick one of the verses below or better yet find one on your own prior to coming to the mat that speaks into your own life:

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 33:20
We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I put my hope.

Put your arms in front of you and walk then forward. Then  move up on your knees with your hands under your shoulder and your knees over your ankles.

Cat/Cow Pose

Isaiah 40:12
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?

Spinal Balance Posture

Start with a neutral spine from previous posture. As you  
inhale lift the left leg and right arm up. Keep them both 
straight and parallel to the floor. Hold for thirty seconds
continuing to breath. Lower both the arm and the leg down
and do the other sides.

As we begin to pick up the pace remember: ‘In Him we live and move and have our being’.  (Acts 17:28a) After practice read the verse above in context:   Acts 17:27-29.

Downward Dog Posture

From the Downward Dog Standing Position: step your left leg through to assume a Warrior One Position, bringing your arms up reaching forward and up to the ceiling

Warrior One

The Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-19

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be
able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition, to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

Warrior Two

Reverse Warrior

Extended Side Angle Pose

Bring feet together, Downward Dog--right leg through and proceed as before through Warrior One, Two and extended Side Angle Pose on the other side.

Tree Pose-Finding Balance

Find a stationary focus point level with your eyes to help your balance work on memorizing these tree verses from Psalms while working through the Tree Pose to remain balanced through the day. Do one side and then the other.

Psalm 1:3a
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. 

 Psalm 92:12
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

Psalm 52:8
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Sit on your mat with legs extended.

Seated Side Twist

1 Timothy 4:16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Before returning to the mat again, after reading the Chapter 4 in Timothy in its entirety.

After finishing the Seated Side Twist on both sides, extend both legs out in front and pull yourself down, bending from the hips and holding your toes

Child’s Pose

John 1:12
Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God----

Mark 10:16
And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.

Amen, so be it!

Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together, with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!

Amen.......So be it!

P.S. Often in Yoga class they play the Leonard Cohen's secular song, "Hallelujah". The tune is haunting and I find it emotionally reflective. I recently discovered that it has been newly released with Christian lyrics.