Tuesday, November 3, 2009


For this post, I'm going to start with some blatant advertising because I know Sarah wouldn't do it for herself. (But I have her permission :)

Perfect poster photo:
Yoga. 5:30 p.m. every Monday at the Farm, 4720 E. Hueneme Road. Taught by the farmer - turned-yoga-instructor-who-can-do-awesome-moves-like-handstands-on-wet-sand Sarah Bagge.

Oliver joins us for some deep relaxation

Sarah's a self-taught instructor after taking a lot of yoga classes during college and practicing crane pose until she can practically do it on her pinky fingers. I can barely stay in "tree pose" (standing with one foot on the ground) without toppling over, but I go to Sarah's classes and am slowly feeling my balance improving along with focus and stamina. For me, though, practicing yoga is not just about getting more flexible or stretching some sore muscles after long hours in the field, though that's certainly a plus.

I always found walking to be a prayerful kind of activity, and after being introduced to yoga by my mom a few years ago, I realized how important times of meditative movement are in my life. Yoga teaches me to pray with my whole self, not just my thoughts. It brings me through a flow of increasingly challenging positions - drawing me to a place of deep listening. I listen to the ways my legs tell me I can push further into a stretch, and I must listen when they tell me to stop and rest.

Someone told me once that attentiveness is the highest form of prayer. Through focused attention on the elemental motions of my existence: breathing in, breathing out, standing, lying down, I remember that God speaks and lives in and through us in these basic acts. God communicates with me through my body and through my attentiveness to the many physical senses. How often am I present and engaged enough to hear and feel God through the breath of air filling my lungs, the blessing of strong legs lifting me to my feet, through the way the muscles in the inner corners of my eyes relax their tightness at night, before I sleep? Regrettably, not very often.
A prayer my friend Amy once posted in our room that I love says,

"Lord, be in our seeing, our hearing,
in our knowing, and in our understanding today and everyday..."

and be in our all our daily movements as well.

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