Yoga Theology: Instructing An Instructor

Last week, an article I'd written about the yoga classes I taught in Natchez was published in the Church Health Reader. Having written and submitted the piece in January, I was taken by surprise when the published version appeared in my inbox. As I reread the article, I couldn't help but think of how much had changed since its creation. I had found out I was moving, ended the yoga classes about which I'd written, moved upriver, and began attending yoga classes instead of teaching them. I have welcomed the opportunity for someone else to tell me when to move from down dog to plank and back again. At this week's class, what was even more meaningful was when the instructor invited us to let go of worry and stress in the opening and closing moments of class. It was comforting to be led rather than to lead; it was refreshing to be taught rather than to teach.

Some of us would rather lead than follow. Others would prefer to follow and leave the leadership to someone else. But the truth is that we need to strike a balance between the two. Be it in our professions, families, church work, or general interactions with each other, sometimes we have to take action, and sometimes we have to let go. To desire one more than the other is to miss out on the fullness of who God created us to be.

In the article, I recall instances when students would cry on the mat, finding space on its stickiness to grieve a loss. I encouraged them to do, reassured them that there was no better place to let go of tears than on a mat where we let our bodies and minds go.

It's a lot easier to invite others to cry than to invite yourself to cry.

This preacher had to learn to follow what she'd preached. For the past month, even though I've had my teary moments in the midst of transition, I felt like there was a constant knot in my throat, tears of both grief and joy that seemed stuck. One day at home, I sat down on the yoga mat; and the knot finally loosened. The tears started, then turned into sobs. I told myself to pull it together, to stop this nonsense, only to realize that this was far from nonsense. God met me on the mat that day, and the knot dissipated. Something changed when I quit trying to be the instructor and leaned into my Instructor.

Let us find our "yoga mats," those spaces where we can be with God. Perhaps we will learn how to better lead or follow; or maybe we'll just learn to be.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian