Mat Motivations

“The joy is in the journey.” {Susan Holmes, humble yoga teacher}

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

I remember taking my first yoga class in February 2007. I hated it. I couldn’t understand what all the hoopla was about. Six months later, I took another yoga class and loved it. A year after my second class, I was a certified yoga instructor. Something within me shifted. I call it a soul shift. I was able to metaphorically, stop running and be still, basking in the presence of the Lord.

He has since told me many things while I’ve been on my mat.

“Some of you are sinning and you are doing it purposely”.

Have you ever been told something that made your stomach drop? I was on my mat during my first 200 hour faith based teacher training in 2008 and we were in Bible study going deep friends into the Word. When that sentence was spoken I knew what the sin was. Sexual immorality. I was sleeping with my boyfriend. Not only was I fully aware of it, I knew it needed to stop. And it did, that day. Without his consent, I made a decision I could not continue living in that way. And it had nothing to do with him, but everything to do with God.

“Love.”

The tears fell onto the mat because I was humbled. God was telling me I could stand to love his kids just a little bit more. The ‘love’ tattoo I have on my left ankle is as a result of the savasana at the conclusion of a random power yoga class. You see, I want you to love me, yet I forget how important it is to love you. It’s easy to love the ones I love, but what about my human sandpaper? The unlovables? I’m directed to Luke 6:31-36, “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.”

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Keeping myself focused on Jesus and off my neighbor on and off the mat has been a great lesson. A dear friend will often touch the tip of her nose which means, “Honey, this is beyond your nose.” Some may say, “It’s outside of your hula hoop.” Whatever language resonates with you, take it to heart. I have been robbed of plenty of joy due to comparing myself to you. When I do, I always lose. I have an opportunity to be grateful for wherever I am in a yoga pose and this deal called life. The Lord has provided me with communities in which I can share my sorrows and life lessons and the tears are not for nothing. Everything is redeemed and I am able to appreciate it because of my relationship with the Redeemer.

“Stick with it.”

Life is a journey, a gift some do not get to keep. Stay the course. “Keep a smile on your face…Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” This friends, is the Perfect reminder from Romans 12 to stay on track.

Chidimma Ozor