The overdue last in the series. But hey, when it’s your own blog, you can make and miss your own deadlines. Hope you’ve enjoyed the series as much as I have. Thank you again to all the wonderful writers who shared their stories with us!
Another cold Minnesota night as the lavender shadows of sundown stretching across the glowing white of snow fade fast to sinking black. This time of year I hate to leave the house after dark; winter turns me into a hermit if I’m not careful.
But every Monday evening finds my car winding through the dark along the river road, slipping from small town to small town across rolling fields.
The weekly pilgrimage to yoga.
Yoga is not prayer for me. But my practice makes space for prayer, clears the chaos from my mind, shoves the clutter aside so God can sneak in again.
When I roll out my well-worn mat and begin to breathe deeply, I start to feel the stress of the day slip away. Cranky toddlers who wouldn’t nap. Chores left undone in our messy house. Clutter piled up so high on my desk I feel my blood pressure soar when I open the office door.
I set it all aside, and I sit and stretch.
The peace of the present moment rises once again to my consciousness. I remember the wisdom of all those saints and sages who discovered that God is never more present to us than right now, that every moment offers the possibility of connecting with the Spirit if we only slow our own scattered minds to turn and remember.
Guided by a gentle teacher, I move and hold and push while others around me do the same. We breathe together, lunge, reach and rest. I love the mix of solitude and community that yoga offers: the reminder that my single life is part of something bigger and beyond.
Yoga stretches my limbs and my limits. How much tension can I hold? What would happen if I let go and sunk into the pose a little deeper, released the fears and hesitations holding me back?
I learn about myself – my physical body, my mental flow, my spiritual needs – every time I push back into downward dog. My view of the world is turned upside down, staring underneath my legs at a room of yogis hanging from the floor-as-ceiling. Especially in these early mothering days, so focused on home and our chosen few, I crave this change of perspective, this flip-side reminder, this fresher view.
Perhaps because yoga draws together body, mind and spirit, it sprang immediately to mind when I started this series. I’m grateful to yoga – and to the wonderful studio community I’ve found – for nurturing me as a parent and as a person.
I have little time for working out in ways I used to pre-kids: early morning sessions at the Y before work or daily cardio classes at the gym. Frankly I’d rather write in my wee free time than work out. But I can’t quit yoga. Yoga is sanity, space, silence and stretch. It is the centering practice of my parenting days.
If only I could stay on the mat, I could stay Zen.
Of course that’s not the calling; we all have to come down from the mountaintop and back into the plains. Every Monday night I drive back across the same winding roads, back home to the people to whom I’ve promised my life.
But I’m better for them, and for me, when yoga nights stay sacred. I’m at peace with the contours of my life, with the God that shapes my being.