As I laid quietly on the mat, the instructor spoke the final word of the yoga practice, “Namaste.” Our hands were in prayer pose, placed in front of our hearts as we repeated the word to those in the room. It is a greeting akin to saying, “the spirit in me honors the spirit in others.”
As one who has been practicing yoga for more than twenty years, I have come to learn a lot about myself through the practice of yoga. It took some time, but I have come to recognize that how deep I am able to go into any pose is purely about me. In other words, what others are doing does not devalue or impact what I am able to do. There is no one in which to compare myself with except myself. It is a judgment-free space.
Even as the individual practice is about me, the people who gather for class come together not as individuals, but united in spirit in the common space. When each participant comes ready to offer their best selves, the spiritual energy is rich with possibility.
The group that assembles in any given practice is a collection of people who create holy ground with one another. It is holy because a small bit of each person is transferred to all of the others in the energy of the practice. And the group, at any given time, is unique because each person comes with an energy that is distinctive to the day, space and time.
Namaste calls us to honor the energy of spirit that is in one another. It doesn’t differentiate how the spirit is manifest in each individual, just that spirit is honored. For me, the spirit is the indwelling of God through Jesus Christ. It is the same Holy Spirit that guides me day in and day out.
The Spirit nudges me to connect with others. To choose a path of goodness. To value all people, regardless of religious affiliation, sexual orientation, country of origin, or political connection. After all, that is what Jesus taught as He left the mainstream religion and went to the people living on the margins.
Jesus defied the religious authorities of His time. He healed on the sabbath (see Mark 3: 1-6). Jesus ate with sinners and those considered unclean (see Mark 2: 13-17). When society shunned the lepers, Jesus came into their presence and healed them (See Luke 17: 11-19).
Sometimes religion can be anything but Namaste. Religious rules often win out over following the lead of the Holy Spirit. When the spirit is not honored in another, people play judge and jury, deciding what makes a person fit in, and who gets pushed aside. Judgment is passed without regard to the spirit that dwells in someone whom we encountered.
To live a life of Namaste, I must spend time daily with the Holy Spirit in prayer. When I set aside the time, it’s important to quiet my mind so the Spirit can speak to my heart. The more often I am able to do this, the better connected I become with the Spirit and can be guided by God. And when it is really God leading me, there is a sense of peace and clarity that washes over, and guides me to treat others with gentleness and love.
I dare not keep the Spirit to myself. Instead, I am nudged to offer it to others by not passing judgment. By helping those in need. By sharing my best self with others in yoga and in all aspects of my life.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Yoga is a time for me to push aside the distractions that prevent me from connecting with the Holy Spirit within me. As I move, breath, and stretch in the yoga practice, I am able to turn into the deep place within me where Spirit dwells.
What helps you to slow your body and mind so you can connect with the Holy Spirit in you? So you may offer yourself to others? I invite you to set aside the time often so that you can grow deeper in your relationship with the Lord, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Loving Lord, thank You for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my life. Please help me tune into Your voice to calm my fears and guide my actions. Namaste.
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