Rushing. Constant noise in my ear. My breath can’t keep up with the next breath. Thoughts run together until I can’t remember why I walked downstairs in the first place. TV. Radio. Noise Machines. Iphones. Internet. All keeping me at the pace of a racehorse trying to win the Kentucky Derby. But this body is tired of racing all the time. When my body finally caught up with the endless amount of chasing kids, running errands, and taking photographs, I was beat – not just physically but also spiritually. Yet I live in the 21st century where racing is essential to survival.
Thankfully, there is an hour that exists outside of this insanity. My 8:30am Yoga class is a place where I find refuge and rest. For one hour the racing stops. I can actually hear the voice of God.
He tells me that I’m strong because He is my strength. He tells me that I can have peace because He has overcome the world. He tells me that my body is beautiful because His hands formed me in my mother’s womb. He tells me it’s good to be still because that’s when I truly know He is God. And He tells me that my breath is sacred because it comes from Him alone. When I am quiet I am reminded that God made us for stillness, meditation and to be in tune with our bodies.
In Romans, we are told that God commands us to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, for this is your spiritual act of worship.” Is beating our bodies ragged in this fast-paced society a living sacrifice? I think of a sacrifice as someone that is fully aware of how alive they are in their body: counting every breath, feeling every rise and fall of the chest, knowing that the body is the armor of life. Dead sacrifices are no longer aware of what they feel or think. And Most of the time I feel like a dead sacrifice running around trying to catch my next breath. Yet I long to be a living sacrifice – fully aware that both my breath and my soul are sacred. Understanding that life – my very soul – is a gift.
Body and soul are inextricably linked, and breath can become prayer – the physical and spiritual working together in perfect harmony. Breathing comes second nature to the exercise in the practice of yoga. The Hebrew name for God, “Yahweh,” literally sounds like an inhale/exhale when spoken in Hebrew. God’s name is breath. And He breathed our very existence into place. We inhale our very first breath into this world and exhale our very last as we enter eternity. Breath is essential to our life with God, and yet it is something we take into consideration very little. It is our very breath that God intended to remind us of Him every time we say His name. And as I breathe in and out on my mat, His very name is spoken all around, whether the lips know it or not.
God is waiting for me. Waiting to make my breath part of His. Waiting to give me quiet in the midst of chaos. Waiting to embrace me for who I am today, not for who I will be tomorrow. Waiting to sing over me with His presence. The more I come to know Him, the more I realize that’s how He works – meeting unlikely people in unlikely places. Please find a place to be with God in the quiet, in the stillness. Find a place to listen to God’s name come out in your breath. Find a place to hear Him find delight in you