Back in January, Yoga with Adriene hosted a free series called TRUE: 30 Day Yoga Journey. It was perfect for me since I'd just received a pretty new yoga mat for Christmas and was determined to actually start taking care of my body this year. When I turned 30 last year, it was like a light finally flicked on in my head that told me that if I didn't start moving more, I was going to sink into the couch with the potato chip crumbs and wither away. Since I've never been one to enjoy anything that requires too much exertion (i.e. anything that involves running), I figured becoming more serious about practicing yoga was a safe place to start.
I began the 30 day journey and added 5-10 minutes of some extra exercises (like squats, push ups--which I can actually do now--mountain climbers, etc.) every day and wow. I noticed changes within the first week. Not big, extravagant physical changes, but small ones inside. For one thing, I love exercising this way. It's slow and intentional, which is so how I prefer to live my life when I can. I began to enjoy the feeling of becoming stronger, and of becoming more in tune with my body.
Mostly, though, I felt myself becoming more disciplined. Even on days when I didn't really want to come to my mat, I made the choice and felt so much better for it.
A huge grace was coming across this quote by Saint Josemaria Escriva on a tank top at an online shop right around the time I began this journey: "To begin is for everyone. To persevere is for saints." I immediately thought, "That's me! I want to be a saint, so I must persevere!" Now I hear those words in my heart, a whisper in the morning when I 'd rather roll over and close my eyes for a few more minutes: Persevere. Do it for God. He gave you this body, now take care of it, be good and true to it. Do this for yourself, and for any children He may give you in the future. Don't just begin. Keep going, persevere.
When I continually choose to take the time to come to my mat, I find that the discipline makes me more aware of all the choices before me during the day--the choices between nature and grace. I don't always choose the right one, and I often find myself battling my natural reactions and inclinations, but I am stronger--physically, mentally, emotionally--for the fight.
|A few of my favorite things. |
And yes, sometimes I come to my mat with my coffee and some spiritual food for thought.
"The language of yoga teaches me how to balance my energy so I may have everything I need to serve others and help make the world a better place."
~Adriene Mishler of Yoga with Adriene
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I come here to be more in tune with my breath, with Your breath in me. When I am in tune with my breath, my center, I am in tune with You. I am better able to discern the line between nature and grace, better able to choose the better part, which is You.
I want to run the race so as to win. I want to walk in Your ways, Lord, but I am broken. I let my nature dictate my actions. I am self-seeking. I ignore Your grace. I push it away. I stumble and fall.
Day after day, hour after hour, I find myself on my knees at Your feet, laying it all down again and again. I come here to be better, stronger, healthier, holier.
By Your grace, I will persevere. I will continue to lay it all down, everything I am, everything I long to be, at Your feet. I will surrender all to You, Lord, for You are the source of all strength, all grace. Your power is made perfect in my weakness.
You tell me, "Child, your sins are forgiven. . .rise, take up your mat and walk!"
I believe, Lord; help my unbelief!
|A cork yoga mat I won in a raffle at work! Yay for free stuff!|
*Motivational quotes aside, I didn't finish the series in a consecutive 30 days due to a circumstance that is a story for another day, but as soon as I was able, I retraced a few days and then kept going. I don't practice every single day, but I practice more days than I don't. Now that I'm stronger, more toned and disciplined, and now that the weather is finally nicer, I am ready and excited to get outside to walk (not run) and bike more, to push myself to be more fit and active and healthier all around.
*If you are interested in starting at home yoga practice (I still have never been to a class), I highly recommend Yoga with Adriene. It's free on YouTube, and her practices are very casual (sometimes her giant dog lumbers in to join her), and are the perfect mix of focus and goofiness. It's like doing yoga with a friend, but a friend who can't see how totally not flexible you might be. :)
* "Lay It Down," by Matt Maher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPoxM0D_0n8