Today’s guest post is from Christopher at modern man of the cloth. You really should check out his blog, he offers a funny and wise perspective on life and Christianity from a pastor’s point of view.
I decided to try yoga. I had been kicking it around in my mind for a little while unsure whether I would or not actually go to a class. I wondered if it would be odd for a 31-year-old male, pastor, dad to attend a yoga class. Each of these categories seemed to suggest I ought to consider staying home.
But still there was a tug in the yoga direction. First, I know a number of people who do yoga and seem to enjoy it. Second, I was interested in connecting with some new people who were interested in spirituality and a yoga class seemed like a good place to find them. And third, I had been doing some yoga on my Wii Fit for years. I have all the moves at either 3 or 4 stars (out of a possible 4 stars) so I was somewhat confident I could handle myself.
After much thought I picked up some clothes that seemed like they would be yoga appropriate and a yoga mat. As I walked into the class I felt a little apprehensive. I wasn’t sure who would be there. Would it be a room filled with soccer moms who just finished their lattes? Would it be a room full of crystal wearing new-agers? I couldn’t really tell in the end. I did get a few looks to suggest as the sole male in the room I was intruding some, but I tried to shake them off.
Also I wondered how the inherit spirituality of yoga would connect with my own spirituality. I started to think about the yoga poses that I knew and how they could be used to reflect my journey. If you know anything about the Christian faith you should know we have a remarkable ability to take what others are doing and make odd little Christian copies. Name a genre of music and I can show you a Christian artist who tries their best to make a Christian version of it.
Part of me wondered if I could create a ‘Christian yoga’. It seemed plausible, maybe even easy. Take the warrior pose and call it the ‘prayer warrior’. Take the ‘sun salutation’ and turn it into the ‘son salutation’. On and on I could go. Like I said, we are great at making our own little copies of things.
As the class started I discovered a few things. First my 3-4 stars on Wii Fit meant nothing. Yoga was really, really hard. Second, because it was really, really hard, the stretches hurt me in places I had never hurt before. And third, because I was hurting in places that never really hurt before, I wasn’t really worried about turning this class into a spiritual experience.
The hour passed slower than I expected it would. But I did feel a bit more energetic afterward. I rolled my mat up, thanked the instructor, and headed out the door. The next morning something strange happened, when I tried to get out of bed my entire body protested. I was sore from my toes to my nose! I had been going to the gym for a few months now and I had managed to avoid this kind of bodily push back. But not this day, this day I ached.
I sit here now a few weeks away from my first real yoga experience still a little unsure what to make of it. Nothing that I thought would happen did, and I was tossed a few unexpected curve balls along the way. But my intrigue hasn’t waned. And I do still have that new yoga mat. I will be back. I know I will. I still want to fuse the benefits from yoga to my own spiritual journey. And I still want to have my body and spirit shaped by others around me. And goodness knows my body needs some shaping.
Thank you so much Christopher for sharing your experience with your first yoga class! I really hope you give it another try! As I mentioned to you in an email, yoga is certainly not only a female practice. There are few men in the classes I attend because I tend to go in the morning but when there are, I love it, because the octave a man’s voice can reach during, “Om” makes the whole sound that much more powerful.
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