I’m terrible at Yoga. I really am. I’m not patient; I don’t really like to be quiet; and settling my mind is a whole other challenge. So in all honesty, I’m terrible at yoga. Not only am I terrible at it, it hurts. I know what you’re thinking, for those yogis out there you are sure I am doing it wrong. That’s why it hurts. I have been to classes, and I have watched the videos on YouTube. I have tried to breathe slowly and be mindful. I’ve tried it all, it still hurts. I should probably explain that for years I have been a runner. The kind that puts on their shoes and runs out the door, no stretching, no warm up or cool down. Just running. As I have gotten older, this has caught up with me. My body is tight, my back is sore, and my muscles don’t work the way they used to. I just don’t think I have taken care of myself the way I should have. I did not lean into some of the less exciting stuff of being a runner, like stretching. So I have tightened up. This is why I have started yoga. And This is why it hurts. I am breathing air into muscles that have not been stretched for years. I am sitting in stretches that are uncomfortable but I stay in them long enough to release the tension. I am leaning into spaces I haven’t wanted to; and it hurts. But each day, my tight muscles seem to loosen up just a bit. Each day they feel the blood move through them, and they move a little more smoothly. And some days, when I’m really lucky, things that hurt the day before – like my back – feel better than when I started. Each day, I grow a little healthier even through the pain.
Life is a little like that. Sometimes we may have to lean into uncomfortable places. Sometimes we may have to sit in them a little longer than we would like. As we do, we feel the pain begin to release. But sitting in those places can be difficult. It can challenge us to face things we have ignored or shut out. Unfortunately, to really work out those knots we will need to lean into them. We may not like it. We may feel like we are not good at it. But that’s not what matters. If we start, we will eventually get better at it and soon we will begin to see the fruits of our hard work. So, as I breathe into another downward dog, I remind myself that doing difficult things is not only ok, in fact it’s really good.
What are areas of your life that may need a little leaning into? Has God been showing you something in your life that needs to be worked out? Maybe it’s a personal trait; patience, selflessness, honesty. Maybe it’s a relationship with a child, a spouse, yourself. Prayerfully ask God to help you lean in to work the kinks out.
2 Chronicles 20:15 says: Do not be discouraged by this great army because the battle isn’t yours. It belongs to God!