You only need two things for a yoga pose; a center of gravity and a sense of direction. B.K.S. Iyengar, Tree of Yoga
Last week was the 14th anniversary of my ordination as a Lutheran pastor. 14 years ago I had never done yoga. Not even with a DVD. As you maybe know, I started doing yoga while I was a pastor of a congregation. For the first few years I loved not being the leader, and not saying a single word when I went to class. Over time I was drawn more and more to teaching yoga which started to subtly, but significantly, shift my perspective and relationship with being a pastor. In some ways teaching classes, leading retreats, and being in relationship with this diverse community of students feels like pastoral leadership. And in many more ways it is sooo vastly different than the work of being The Pastor of a congregation.
The shift from being a pastor to being a yoga instructor was not an easy one for me. I tripped over my ego every way I turned. I struggled against all the ways “the church” was flawed and didn’t fit my expectations and dreams. At the same time, I really resisted and kind of winced at the idea of fully stepping into my yoga pants and claiming what seemed like frivolous and insignificant work.
That B.K.S. Iyengar (one of the biggies of yoga) quote above is what I was struggling with. “You only need two things for a yoga pose; a center of gravity and a sense of direction.” I was so concerned with being somewhere other than where and who I was that I had no center of gravity. So I was just there fighting myself, flailing my arms and legs around, hoping to fall in the right direction. Does that make sense?
That quote makes so much sense to me now. NOW- that I feel really grounded in my role as a yoga instructor who grows from the roots of being a Lutheran pastor. I can sense the ways that I am being fed and nourished and therefore growing as a yoga instructor; from the roots and the reach of long extending limbs and leaves.
Am I taking the metaphor too far?? Maybe so. I’ll stop myself. The moral of the story is — it’s all yoga.
I’ll turn it over to you to make the metaphor… Center of gravity or are you fighting it, throwing your arms all over? It is really hard to have a sense of direction or any momentum at all without a center of gravity. Think about Usain Bolt before he takes off running or Katy Ledecky when she is about to dive into the pool…they are tucked so tight so they have all that gravity to push off of right from the start. Incredible. I love gravity.
If you are coming to the Fall Yoga Retreat at Sky Ranch Lutheran Church, September 23-25th, we are going to talk more about this…if not, well who knows.
Peace on your head you,