One of my best friends just became certified as a yoga instructor. She enjoys merging an Eastern practice with a biblical approach to exercise. Rather than emptying her mind, she meditates on Scripture while she does yoga. I had the privilege of spending four days with her during her visit to Nashville last week. An avid runner and rock climber, I had been trying to get into the practice of yoga to help with a recent knee injury, improve flexibility, and promote bodily relaxation. It was fortuitous timing when Anna showed up at my door with a yoga mat, a playlist of worship songs, and some lavender essential oil spray (scoffers be warned).
I was ready to laugh because although I knew how helpful yoga can be for the body and mind, it seemed silly. Stretching can increase blood flow? Breathing a certain way can slow down my racing heart? I can actually feel at peace while closing my eyes and lying on the floor? Come on. I run for exercise, not contort my body in weird shapes. I didn’t expect it to be exercise, nor did I expect it to alter my mindset. In both cases I was proved wrong.
We prayed before we started our hour-long session. We read some Scripture and meditated on what God had to say as we laid down and breathed deeply and intensely. The more I concentrated on my breathing, the more I was able to focus on what God was saying to me at the moment. The most striking pose for me was the child’s pose. “This is the pose you will always go back to, particularly when you need to rest during the session,” she said. The child’s pose involves lying face down, knees to chest, with arms stretched out. The pose is all-too-similar to the laying prostrate in the temple that we read about in the Old Testament.
The child’s pose is the pose of surrender. It is the pose of rest. It is the pose that centers your body and mind. The pose, in every way, enables you to go deeper and further.
I think Jesus was on to something when He said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom” (Matt. 18:3-4, The Message).
I love Jesus because His expectations for us aren’t lofty. He doesn’t anticipate us having it all together. He’s not peering down from heaven with a pointed finger saying, “I will only be pleased with you if you do x, y, and z for Me…If you look a certain way…If you clock in a number of hours serving my Name.” Rather, Jesus wants us to take on the attitude of children. Parents don’t expect their children to get it right the first time—all that parents “expect” of their children is to be loved and to love in return.
It is in the child’s pose that we trust. In the child’s pose, we lay prostrate in adoration. Start by loving Jesus like a child this week. Adore Him for His goodness, His protection, His love. You’ll be amazed when you let Him love on you how at peace you feel with yourself, with God, and with the world.
Caroline Case is a proud Nashville transplant from Naples, Florida, who serves as the production editor for LifeWay’s SmallGroup.com and Discipleship in Context teams. Caroline is currently in graduate school at Belmont University pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in English and Creative Writing, in hopes of inspiring and encouraging others with the written word.
Scripture quotations from The Message. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.