The following is a piece from the "Yoga Theology" archives, originally published on August 29, 2013.
When I arrived for yoga class on Tuesday evening, all I wanted was to lie in savasana, also known as resting pose. It had been one of those days where the toilet was leaking, and ants were crawling in the bathtub. Granted, my reasons to be grateful far exceeded the aggravations of the day. I had felt calm in the wildness of a work day. Still--I was tired. Surely, I thought, we could just have a gentle class of stretching and sleeping.
Conner, the instructor, walked in.
"I went to a power yoga class last week, and it was awesome," he declared.
Uh-oh, I thought.
He went on to suggest that we do some of the power yoga. I heard "yeah" and "sure" and saw heads nod "yes" around the studio. I just smiled and looked for an emergency exit.
We eased into the practice, but then came the sun salutations. We were hopping, we were reaching, we were bending, and we were sweating.
When we began, all I could do was think about getting to the end of class. I would steal glances at my neighbor's watch to see how much time remained. Before long, in order to stay upright, I forgot about time. I opted for child's pose whenever I felt too tired and focused on deep breathing. I would try to focus on the pose I was in and not the pose I was moving towards.
When we were in some of the toughest poses, Conner would say, "I promise we'll have a long savasana at the end. It will feel so good after the power yoga."
Conner fulfilled his promise, and the final seven minutes of class were spent lying on our backs with eyes closed and muscles relaxed. When it was time to sit up again, I felt different. I felt better than I did when the class began. Even though I was tired, it was a different sort of tired. I went home and fell into a wonderful, early sleep that lasted all night. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I felt refreshed--and even said "good morning" to the ants in the tub.
Sometimes, when we're weary, the best solution is to take a nap. As I've shared in past posts, there is much energy regained simply from resting and being. Other times, the best thing we can do is to get moving. If I had found an emergency exit that evening, I probably would have gone home to eat too much and watch too much TV. I would have thought too much about the day's activities and worked on the computer until I fell asleep. Instead, power yoga was like a charger that turned my battery from low to full energy.
In Colossians 3:2, we hear an admonition to "set your mind on things above and not on earthly things" (New International Version). My tiredness on Tuesday evening stemmed mainly from where my mind was--on all that I'd had to do, all I still needed to do, and how worn out I was from it all. How often do our bodies drag because of where our minds are? What if we intentionally took time to focus on something else, even if it's just for an hour? We might discover a fresher energy -- and a Holy Spirit power.
all good things, and refreshed energy, to each of you,