So I’ve been doing some yoga classes recently. I started taking yoga because a friend of mine is learning to be a yoga instructor, and I wanted to encourage and support her. It’s been an interesting experience.
In my younger years I tried yoga at my local gym, but was deeply uncomfortable with the practice of offering prayers (to the best of my memory addressed to the “sun god”…or maybe just to the sun itself) at the beginning and end of class. So I decided that yoga was not for me.
The classes I’ve been attending recently do not include prayers to any deity at the begging or end of class. I have found that the practice of yoga is a great compliment to the weightlifting I do regularly: it has loosened the knots that arise out of the practice of weightlifting.
One of the elements that is important to the practice of yoga is connecting with your breath. And as we practiced during an outdoor class today, a warm and very persistent breeze surrounded us. I was reminded of Rob Bell’s Nooma video entitled “Breathe,” in which he teaches that the name of God in Hebrew is actually four consonants: YHWH. In English we have often inserted vowels to make this a pronounceable word (“Yahweh,” or in the old-school, “Jehovah”). But if you actually attempt to pronounce the name of God in Hebrew, it sounds an awful lot like breath. YHWH. Try it, it sounds like breathing out.
Bell makes the observation that maybe every breath is a chance to connect with God. That maybe even our breathing is holy. I like that.
And as I continue to practice yoga, I find that even in this I am not far from God. He is, as always, as close as my breathing.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150:6 NIV