Bear with me as I may sound a bit crazy here, but I want to write honestly. I love yoga, and I hate yoga. Sounds crazy, right? Here is what I love about yoga: yoga clothes, the idea of going, seeing friends and teachers, child’s pose, happy baby, handstands and headstands, and most of all Shavasana. Here is what I hate about yoga — everything in the middle of those things. Class starts with joy, peace and expectation. Then it gets really, really hard. I get so hot that sweat is dripping all around me. There is the discomfort of the poses and the questions of how long do I have to hold this pose and how much longer is left in this class?
What I appreciate about yoga is that your practice in class is designed to empower you not only on your mat but off your mat. As I have written previously, yoga has taught me to breathe through the pain in my life and know that the pain will not kill me. It is okay to feel pain. It is a normal part of life. My hope and expectation is that the pain in yoga is not killing me but strengthening me. My hope and expectation is that God uses the pain in my life to strengthen me, to make me more like Jesus, to grow my compassion, my dependence on him and my love for him.
As we are celebrating Easter today, I think about Jesus and his past few days. He was handed over by a friend and sold for a small amount of money. He was disappointed by his closest friends who just couldn’t watch and pray as he asked. He was convicted for crimes he did not commit. He was abandoned, betrayed, spit upon, harassed, abused and physically taken to the very limit.
Jesus hung on a cross to die the most painful and shameful death. He had the ability to end it all. He could have refused to go to the cross. Why did he choose the pain? Hebrews 12:2 answers that question: “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy that was set before him. That joy is you. It is me.
I love yoga. I hate yoga. I choose to practice regularly because of the hope that yoga is changing me in body, mind and spirit. I experience the Lord on my mat in such powerful ways. He is with me in the pain and so often reveals himself to me through amazing visions in Shavasana. I push through to the end of class because I know I can get to that resting place; it is my hope.
You are Christ’s hope. You are the reason he endured the pain of the cross. Today, can we look at the cross and fully acknowledge the pain that Christ endured then look to his resurrection and see why he endured? Jesus lived, died and rose again for the hope that we, too, would live and die in a restored relationship with the Father? Like Jesus, we are called to persevere through this life (and yoga class) with our eyes set on Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith”.