I love yoga. I also love the time in the morning when I get to read my Bible, pray, journal, and just sit in some good, old fashioned quiet time. I love the rare morning when I have nothing going on so my extended time can include both yoga and a Bible time.
Recently, I’ve discovered a way to do both my Bible time and yoga at the same time. I’ve been loving it, so I wanted to share!
It's something you have probably heard of before. It's called meditation. It’s a practice regularly referred to in the Bible and also a practice that happens to be the core of yoga. Sure, yoga is used for many things such a physical fitness and emotional health. And meditation in the Evangelical world usually is defined as prayer and scripture memory. There are many methods for meditation floating around out there. This is just my personal conglomeration of all things lovely.
Here’s how you do it.
I usually start with some sun salutations, a couple cat cows, or a 10-minute yoga video. (Erin Motz is my favorite). This gets you loose so you can sit for the meditation without feeling those typical morning cricks.
Then, get out your Bible and find a one-sentence or a phrase of truth. In yoga, meditation is usually some truth that is neither a prayer or a command or a petition. It’s just a declaration. In the Evangelical world, we have a practice of reminding ourselves of truth when we are telling ourselves stories that are out of line with who God intends us to be or a false representation of who he is. The best place to find this truth is in the Bible.
For an example, I’ll use a truth form Psalm 68: Our God is a God who saves. It’s not a prayer, a petition, or a question. It’s just true.
Once you’ve read it through a couple times and committed it to memory, sit cross-legged on your yoga mat (or just the floor if you have no mat).
Posture is very important in meditation. In the Bible, we read all sorts of things about people falling prostrate, people kneeling before and alter, people raising their hands in worship, and so much more. Our bodies are an active part of this process, which is why this part is crucial to meditation.
Next, place your hands on your knees. Palms down is a grounding posture. Palms up is an open, receiving posture. To decide which to do, ask yourself this: Is this a truth I need to recognized deep down in my soul? Is this something I need as a foundation to stand upon? If the answer is yes, do palms down: grounding. However, if this is something you are having trouble believing, or a truth you’re particularly struggling with, I recommend palms up. You’re signaling your body (as well as your heart, soul, and spirit) to be open to accepting this truth.
Close your eyes. You’re going to focus on your manta or truth so you need to keep distractions at a minimum. I also like to have a sound machine or a fan going in order to block out background noise.
Next, start your mantra. Start with repeating it in your head as you breath in. Pause at the top. Then say it again as your breath out. Keep it slow and easy for the first few breaths.
Then, take some time to focus on every part, breaking it down slowly as you continue breathing in and out. This is where it gets a little boom-kapow. At least it has for me.
Here are some thoughts I had with this mantra when I emphasized different parts in my head:
OUR God is a God who saves. Our. It’s possessive and personal. There’s a sense of belonging and ownership. He’s ours, the God of anyone who calls on his name and worships him. It’s also plural, corporate. Encompassing many. More than one. There are plenty of possessive parts of speech that are singular in the Bible. But not this one. It’s for a whole people.
Phew. And that was just one word.
Our God is a God who saves. God. He’s a deity. He’s also a being. He’s our God, as opposed to others' God. It also excludes other gods. It’s singular. It’s holy and magnificent. It’s bone crushing and freeing at the same time.
Our God is a God who saves. Is. It’s a verb, meaning it’s active. It’s also active in the present. He’s not the God who will save or has saved. He is God in the present and he saves in the present.
I was going to stop there, but this one was so good, I just wanted to go on.
Our God is a God who saves. A God. Meaning there are others this God is being compared to. This action also contrasts with the action of other gods. He is different than other gods. There is also only one of him.
Our God is a God who saves. He saves rather than waits to be saved. We need him. He does not need us. We do not save ourselves. He saves us. He is active, not passive. He is on the move in the present.
Our God is God who saves.
What’s really cool is what happens afterwards. I usually set my timer for five minutes and end when it goes off. (I almost always feel like the time is too short). But later, as I’ve gone about my day, the truth comes back to me as I encounter certain situations.
Just the other day, I read Psalm 103 he does not treat us as our sins deserve. This came back to me when I encountered a situation where I felt like God was punishing me. It came back to me when I was feeling vindictive with someone who hurt me and wanted to treat them as their sin deserved. The mantra of the morning stayed with me the entire day. It was powerful.
What’s also really cool is once you’ve done the five minutes in the morning, you can do this meditation anywhere. You can breathe in and out and repeat the mantra in your head when you’re sitting in traffic, when you’re waiting on a lunch date, while you’re trying to fall asleep at night. Whenever. It’s yours and you can pull it out and chew on it at any time during the day
What do you think? Give it a try and let me know!