I’ve now been practicing yoga for one year. This new year I even added another class each week. I’m hooked. I pictured that one year out, I would have a really lean, healthy yoga body but as these things go, I still have my same body which can now do yoga.
I’ve mentioned before that one thing I love in addition to the stretching, balancing, core strengthening and deep relaxing are the teachings. Every time I practice yoga,I learn something that applies to life.
I’ve discovered the art of the counter pose. Yoga is about balance, alignment and focus. Our teacher leads us through a pose and then a counter pose, the opposite of what we’ve just done. Picture bending forward arms down, rounding the back, then leaning back with arms extended, arching the back-that is a counter pose.
I’m learning to honor the counter pose. I spent a majority of my life not doing this. A busy, overfilled day was followed by an equally full night and then another overfilled day and on and on. When vacation time came, I was running on fumes, never really winding down. You know how it goes.
We were created to counter pose. The wisdom literature of scripture reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3, There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. The text even spells out activities and counter poses, “A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot….” Fourteen different poses and counter poses are listed for us. The writer of Ecclesiastes knew we needed it spelled out I guess.
It seems so simple like pure common sense. Thirst, then quenching thirst. Work, then rest. Winter, then spring. Feasting, then fasting. Lent, then Easter. Pose, counter pose.
We just don’t seem to be that good at honoring the counter pose. We push. We ignore our season. We seldom stop to ask ourselves what do I need for balance? Is it time to stretch the other direction now?
Jesus had the counter pose perfected. He worked, then rested. He took naps. He ate. He drank. He immersed himself in crowds and then intentionally pulled away. He saw people’s pain and heard their cries and then separated from it. In one particularly stressful time, he withdrew only a little bit (a stone’s throw way) to gather his thoughts, counter pose and pray. Luke 22:41-44.
Where are you right now? Which way have you been bending and stretching lately? What counter pose do you need in order to honor your body, your life or your season? There is a time for everything….
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller, a breast cancer survivor and yoga novice. She especially enjoys wearing yoga clothes when not wearing yoga.