Freedoms and Blackberries

I spent the first month of 2016 in NYC for Yoga Works Teacher Training.

During Yoga Works Teacher Training (YWTT) we spent many hours reading and discussing the yoga Sutras. Many of them have similaries to scripture from the Bible, many do not. Some I think of as mindful words to help me grow in my journey with Christ, some I have just chosen to ponder, pray about, and work out what Patanjali was searching for. 

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The Chakras

Before we dive in, two things you should know about me. I believe in creation science, the more I learn (and the longer I live); the more I do not believe evolution could be more then an idea. Maybe we will move on to that topic on another day ... But for now, the first thing you need to know about me is that I believe that God created the earth, plants, animals, fish, birds and people - in six days. Second, I do believe that we are not to live blindly. So, if I am going to teach asana (the postures of yoga), then I need to be able to discern and educate others in regards to what ideas align with my faith in Christ, and what does not. Hence, this very long post.

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How can meditation be good for you?


In the ninth grade, I remember the first time I moved into a yoga pose. Pretending to be meditating, I closed my eyes, crossed my legs and brought my thumbs and middle fingers to touch. I was in the school cafeteria. I had no concept of yoga except this—and I was quickly reprimanded by my concerned christian friend—that Christians can't meditate. It is against God to do such a thing … And for many years, when I heard the words mediate and/or yoga, that was the experience that came to mind.

 
Being a fundamentalist during my young adult life, even when I would read that David "meditated" on God's Words and law… or God told Moses to be still and watch while God worked… my junior high shame would cause me to ignore those specific words and phrases. However, the God of the universe, is not only grander then this universe, but grander then my vision, and He continued to put those verses before me. And instead of letting them remain as possible biblical errors, I began to be curious about why they had made it through all these years of Bible translations and printings. There had to be a purpose… there is always a purpose.

I've lived many seasons since 9th grade. I've made selfish and unselfish choices. I have had kids, finished school, at times I have chosen my own desires over my faith. I have lived a surrendered life, and un-surrendered... I've had kids—made it the toddler years and grade school years; been a crunchy and un-crunchy mom and both a home school mom and a public school mom. And I'm still making my way through seasons of life of not knowing all the answers. However, I no longer believe that meditating is an unchristian thing to do. It has been practiced by Christians and Hindus, atheists and Buddhists, and the practice doesn't make you a good or bad anything. 

There is a famous proverb* that says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." The quote doesn't say to follow your heart, nor does it say deny your heart—it says to guard your heart. Just like most good things in life, meditation can be used to transform you for the greater good, or for your own good.  

Before I go any further, let's take some time to demystify what mediation is. 

First: Meditation is life changing, not life-saving. 

Long before I began practicing meditation, I have been living a life rooted in my faith. My spiritual life was already a part of my life. That has not changed. What has changed is my ability to begin to understand what it means to die to self (specifically my own busy, over-active thought life) so that I can to get out of my own head and be open to listen for God to speak His truth into my life—without His truths being adjusted by my own perspective and past. 

Second: Human beings are more then flesh and bones…we are also spirit. 

I believe when God breathed life into us (beginning with Adam, in Genesis 2:7), that is when we are shown we are more then just the dust of the earth. We are each breathed into life for a purpose, and the spirit part of us can not be ignored. It is part of who we are, even though it is a bit beyond our comprehension. Meditation and Asana (the physical postures of yoga) serve as a tool to help bring the spirit into unison with our minds and bodies. I'm not trying to make this into gobbledygook here, so as simple as possible: Emotions: passions, fear, grief, desire, joy, anger and shame modify the rhythm of breathing, which in turn, affect your nervous system and the rest of the body. Emotions are not the physical body, therefore, they would be a manifestation of the spirit. While our breath is involuntary, we do have the ability to change the rhythm of the breath by our will. Next time you are in a stressful situation, take a moment and take note of your breathing pattern. Then, for the next few moments, bring your attention to slowing down your breath. You will find that your impossible situation doesn't hold the same power over you that it just did. Spirit, mind and body beginning to work together... 

Third: Learning to fix your eyes on one idea is meditation. 

Mindfulness in the making—aiming to discipline the mind so that the Spirit has room to be heard. Our minds have been described as "the monkey that leaps continually from branch to branch". Today, in our culture, I would say many of our lives reflect the monkeys leaping from one branch to another…not able to slow down enough to see what branch is really worth jumping to…we do not have to live this way. If we are willing to step away from the "normal" and adjust our gaze, we have the power to be "the shepherd grazing his ewes without allowing them out of his sight". 

Fourth: Meditation and yoga do not have to be practiced together, but they work together. 

Asana has the potential to be much more then just physical exercise. If you want your yoga to stay focused on lengthening your hamstrings and strengthening your core--awesome! You are going to benefit from your time on your yoga mat. However, if you are interested in creating a more awesome life with your Asana as a tool-then you will get both sets of benefits--awesome times two. The breath, which we practice controlling in meditation, is also practiced in guiding the movements of your yoga practice. A sort of moving meditation.

So, where do you start?

On a yoga mat moving through postures, or in a seated position, focused on breath control? If you aren't sure, maybe give both a try. I encourage you to start shorter in length, but commit to coming back to it for a certain number of days. Try committing to two full weeks. On our website, we offer videos that are short in length and would allow you to begin a practice from a safe space-in the comfort of your own home. 

  1. Join our list! - Regi will send you regular email with encouragement, tips, information as well as promotions and free stuff!
  2. Join our Facebook Group - STAY MOTIVATED!
  3. Become a member of One+One Yoga We offer a free two-week membership to get you started, risk-free!

Let me know how it goes?  I hope to hear from you soon!

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Gentle Reminders For Moms With Little Ones.

We have had Maya for 3 1/2 weeks. 3 1/2 weeks is long enough to be reminded of what parenting "littles" is like. Lots of interruptions--worthwhile interruptions, but still breaks in routine. Diapers, potty training, crying for no apparent reason, nursings and feedings... all worthwhile, and yet energy depleting and emotional draining.

Moms, that may be your season of life, and my heart does go out to you. I remember the joys and the struggles. I also remember being so tired, yet not wanting to lose my identity in the season. And losing my identity, wondering what I needed to be doing differently. 

"You cannot self-preserve and give freely." - Rebekah Lyons

I love this statement—and I don't. As powerful as those words are, I know they have the potential to produce tremendous amounts of "mom-guilt." 

When our kids were young, Mat and I made a lot of sacrifices for me to stay home with them. I did some work for Matheau, I taught a few classes here and there, but I stayed home. I was the one on-call all of the time. I know, I should have been 100% grateful for the opportunity, but the truth is, I wasn't always grateful. It is hard when you are always on the clock. Trying to guide and mold the future generation in between spit-up, diapers, potty training, and maybe even teaching someone to tie their own shoes--on just a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep can seem like too much to handle.

So, here are some things I've learned from and since that season of life. 

  • Self-preservation isn't the same as self-care.
  • Self-care doesn't equal selfish.
  • God designed our bodies to work the best in rhythm with the circadian rhythm (the body clock). Just like our babies need to learn the pattern, we need to adhere to the pattern. 
  • To give freely means we have something to give.
  • You can memorize a ton of Bible verses, but sometimes, what you really need is a few minutes of silence with God. Silence is when you quit talking, quit asking, quit repeating the verse you think will be your answer, and let Him be your answer.
  • God has given you what you need.

One of the greatest gifts God had given me, I managed to lose during my seasons with having "littles." When I lost my identity, I lost confidence that I knew how to make wise choices beyond the scope of a 6-8-year-old. I starting living on autopilot because that seemed like the best way to get through the days and weeks. If I had low expectations, and kept my focus on keeping peace within our home, I thought that that would make me that 100% grateful.

If I had low expectations, and kept my focus on keeping peace within our home, I thought that that would make me that 100% grateful. The problem was, it didn't, and I didn't know how to get out of the rut. I thought I was doing all the right things, and it had to be just me and my own stubbornness that kept me there. 

It was my own stubbornness. Managing a home doesn't mean that you forget who you are or who God created you to be. I believe it means you lay your opinions about yourself, and you figure out who you really are! The good, bad and even the ugly... and when you do that... you will start to see the beautiful. 

God can use our stories and situations in any season of life. However, His point isn't to use us, but to transform us!!

So, if you are in a season with littles, or tweens and teens, or single, or an empty-nester, self-preserving isn't about living solely for the purpose of others, it's about living solely for the purpose God intentionally created you for. 

This doesn't mean that you have no responsibilities, you quit studying God's Word and get out of diaper duty. This requires that you step back from what you view your purpose is, and create time and space for God to teach you what your purpose is. This may mean little things need to change. You give up that soda in exchange for 2 minutes of silence (with the bathroom door closed!!) or you make time to move your body and get out of your own mind-space, so you can hear when God has something to say. I guarantee what He has to say is always going to allow you to give more freely than you thought you could. 

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