by Michel Le Gribble-Dates
I go to my mat to wonder about whether a connection exists between Lent and my yoga practice, and if so, what that connection is…and I am filled with wonder.
I begin in Child's Pose and consider how during Lent my Christian tradition encourages me to pray, fast, and give alms.
Prayer, fasting, almsgiving…three disciplines that my yoga practice also leads me to.
Of prayer: To speak or sing a prayer, to stand or sit while praying all require my body. And yet, it wasn’t until I embodied prayer on my yoga mat that I came fully to God in prayer.
Of fasting: Like Lent, Yoga moves me to let go. Loosening areas of the body that tend to grip when I experience stress makes fasting, or letting go, a daily focus on my mat.
Of almsgiving: As I transition through postures on my mat I focus on keeping the entire front of my physical body open…the side that I approach all of life with. My heart softens and I become more generous just as Lent calls me to do. Read More
Extra Grace Required - Our Blog
"Blessed are the pure in heart
for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8
I love tea. I find the process of making tea a spiritually cleansing practice. It requires my full attention, and brings me out of my life's busyness, and into the current moment. Coming home from my former office job, I would make myself a cup of tea, my focused attention on the tea-making effectively removing the residuals of the day's unfinished office business from my head, so that I could be present with my family.
Purity is different from cleansing, although the two are often confused. Cleansing is the act of removing impurities, while purity is the result of release—freedom from that which binds. Recall the beauty of a flower that blossoms from a constrained bud, or the pure sound of a beautifully sung note, unencumbered by straining vocal cords. Jesus' teachings guide us to focus on releasing the pure love found deep in our heart and not confine ourselves to practices that merely clean the human vessel. He taught that what ultimately defiles a person, making them impure, is not unwashed hands, but the thoughts and actions that constrain and try to separate us from God. (Matthew 15:18-20) Read More