I miss my yoga class! I haven’t been at all this year. Shame on me! Y’all pray for me to get off my butt!
While I miss the physical and mental benefits, I continue to meditate on and draw parallels with the spiritual lessons I gain from yoga.
I’d roll my eyes whenever my yoga teacher would say those dreaded words. I knew that more-than-mild discomfort was headed my way. Her rationale: unless we challenge ourselves, not to the point of pain but of mild discomfort, we won’t reap the benefits of yoga.
As Lent progresses and I continue disconnecting from social media, I experience a different form of mild discomfort. I’ve come to realize how much Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram were rooted in my daily landscape.
Like most addicts, I endure social media withdrawal symptoms. Nothing unbearable, but the signs are there. I inadvertently point and almost click on the familiar buttons. I wonder what news and tidbits of information I was missing out on. I hanker for the humorous banter between friends and acquaintances.
It takes discipline to keep focused yet stay challenged during Lent (see my thoughts on defragmentation). But once I get beyond the “mild discomfort” of being absent from the “fun stuff,” something interesting begins to manifest.
The steady gaze
In yoga, we’re encouraged to find an object upon which to focus while attempting to maintain a pose. Lasering your gaze onto something finite helps distract you from the mild discomfort or the length of time that you hold a pose. So, Teacher would encourage us to remember our “gaze.”
I didn’t have to give much thought to where my gaze should be during Lent. God should never have to jockey for my attention, and so this Lenten challenge is the perfect opportunity to gaze upon Him and what He wants to do in me during these six weeks–and beyond.
As I offer Him my time and my attention (my gaze), to quote the old hymn, earthly things became strangely dim. I meditate on how I can redeem the time I normally would spend online so that my relationship with God can thrive. He meets me at the intersection of Penitence and Obedience, and already I see a long-whispered prayer for a return to true intimacy with God coming to life. Spring up, O well!
I’ve learned that the human head weighs between seven and eight pounds. Far Too Much Information (FTMI), my mum would say! But in yoga, it makes a difference. Sometimes, every last sinew and muscle pleads with us to hold our heads down in order to make it through a pose. By then, the mild discomfort is absolutely not mild, and you couldn’t fix your gaze on anything, even if a winning lotto ticket was attached to it. At that desperate moment, Teacher reminds us to keep our heads up, lest we weigh ourselves down with our seven-to-eight-pound appendage.
Like I said, I’ve had withdrawal symptoms. My head hasn’t felt totally right in some ways. The enemy has been glad to offer me guided tours to my past. Never a good idea.
This much I do know of God: He’s continually encouraging us to look up. There’s something positive (aka a blessing) awaiting us. Recall Jesus’s rallying cry to the apostles: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world!” The very fact that I am a Christian, saved by grace through faith, is reason enough for me to keep my head up and not let worries or regret overtake me.
How is your Lenten season going? Are you experiencing mild discomfort? How are you combating it?