Monthly Archives

September 2017

Wellness, Yoga

How precious are your feet?

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” — Isaiah 52:7

This is God saying, “My dear, when you share the gospel, your feet are beautiful.” I love the context of the mountain…the race over not a plain but difficult terrain to share the BEST news.

Our feet work hard, a fact many of us take for granted, but God calls them beautiful.

21078518_10154657380496035_1376039893611386651_nA quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet. Your feet have 52 bones, 26 in each foot and 33 joints. Your body has a total of 206 bones, including those in your feet. When you think about it, feet are essential in absolutely every task you perform.

So we want them to keep working hard for us — to give us a solid foundation, to help us retain balance, to get us from point A to point B, to allow us to continue our ministry to our families and our communities.

Earlier this year, when summer arrived, my feet began to light up in pain. I did some research, learned some exercises and decided my feet were worthy of far more attention than I’d been giving them.

I’d like to invite you to enroll now for a special two-hour Holy Yoga event: Pampering your precious feet from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 W. Jefferson St. in Springfield. Learn exercises for your feet, enjoy a slow flow class, get a foot soak with a devotion and leave with more resources for healing and preventing common foot ailments.

Space is limited and participants must be pre-registered, so sign up soon. The cost is $25 and includes exercises you can do at home, resources, a foot soak with devotion and a Holy Yoga flow. Click HERE to make your payment and secure your spot!

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Faith, Wellness

Sometimes I walk…or run real slow

After I wrote about my six-mile run and how proud I was that I could finish that race with an amazing time, I began thinking about a half-marathon. I was technically halfway through the training and on pace for training for the one that would be held in Springfield in mid-October.

Pardon me. It seemed like a no-brainer. So I jumped right back into distance training the weekend after the Abe’s Amble.

I ran four miles from my house, so that when I turned, I would run the required eight miles for that Sunday. Except right around the turning point, I had pain so severe it was accompanied by pain. Radiating pain from my deep glutes to the bottom of my foot.

I walked and ran real slow the second half, the pain never alleviated. It was slow because I was proud of my time, though in reality it wasn’t THAT slow. It was slow because God had some things to say. It was slow because I was suffering emotionally as much as I was physically.

I’m 43. I’ve suffered a few rather severe health conditions. I’ve birthed three children. I’ve reclaimed my health. I’ve lost significant weight. I’ve become stronger. I’ve experienced new, chronic back problems.

I was arguing with God that I might miss the chance to run a half marathon in my lifetime if I didn’t do it now.

He, as you might imagine, didn’t care. Well, that’s not true. He did and does care very much about my feelings, my aspirations, my past and my future.

But in that agonizing four miles, He reminded me that His care for me includes seasons of slow, of rest and of healing. And that if I can’t lay down my prideful thinking, my own goal-setting and pick up what He has for me, then I may very well miss out on something even better than a half-marathon.

I don’t know what that is. He hasn’t revealed it to me yet. But I’m learning in my relationship with Him that it’s best to surrender. He is indeed my GOOD FATHER. And if He is saying this season is not my time, then I trust Him. Even if I don’t like it.

And that’s hard. It very much reminds me of the verse I’ve been meditating on in my Holy Yoga Trauma-Sensitive studies this week, the one I shared with one of my Holy Yoga classes: “I have told you these things so that you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power [to overcome] the world.” John 16:33

The most important thing in this scripture is the relationship. When life is hard, when I don’t get my way, when my body doesn’t cooperate, when I’m going astray, when I’m leaning toward something to make into my god, when I am stubborn and prideful, I still haven’t lost hope. My peace is in HIM. My hope is in HIM. Without that relationship, I have nothing.

I’m also reminded that if Jesus has power to overcome the world, than with Him by my side, a half-marathon is NEVER out of the realm of possibility. This fall, this year…it’s not my season. And that’s OK, too.

shutterstock_107814275-1080x675I haven’t stopped running. I haven’t stopped tracking my time. I run more slowly. That in itself makes me smile. I notice more. I hear Him more. I feel His presence. Because I’ve set aside the “it’s all about me” attitude. I’m not running for me. I’m running for HIM and with HIM. Guess what? I enjoy it more than ever.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m no theologian. But for me, God’s word does hold ultimate truth and smaller truth that is more personal, more driven by the Holy Sprit. For me, it’s something that pertains to a season in my life that has little to do with the historical context of the scripture but everything to do with God’s perspective on my situation. It releases me from having to be a Bible scholar and just trusting that God’s word is for everyone and always has something to say, no matter our educational level. So when I read the words of 1 Corinthians 9:24 and I realize that many runners may very well have taken it verbatim, and that’s OK, I’m reminded that my race today isn’t what I thought it would be. No half marathon, but I still get to compete. I still have an opportunity to be the one who gets the prize. Praise be to God, with my weary body, that my race might be one right into my Creator’s arms where He is offering stillness and healing that I need in the hear and now.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor. 9:24

 

Yoga

Rise up into mountain to move yours

There’s nothing basic about this pose, which to the ordinary person may just look like someone standing.

This is perhaps the pose that carried over best from my mediocre DVD yoga practice that I did for five years — mostly incorrectly. The instructor walked us through a mean mountain pose. I learned how I could fire up nearly every muscle of my body thanks to his awesome cues.

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Photo by Lauren Westrich Photography

That’s one thing I love about yoga—the techniques aren’t limited to my mat. Because I know how to root my feet down evenly, energetically rotate my thighs, squeeze my glutes, align my spine, properly set my shoulders and even engage my fingers and toes, then I can “exercise” anywhere.

Practice this: Standing with your weight evenly distributed on your feet, lift your toes and find the four corners of your feet. Set your toes back down and grip them into the floor, turning “on” your calf muscles. Next, energetically pull your thighs together, which means engage the muscles of the inner thighs without actually moving them. Soften your tailbone down toward the earth, squeeze your glute muscles. Pull your shoulders down and away from your ears and onto your back body. To ensure your spine isn’t overly unnaturally curved, knit your ribs together. Your ears should be over your shoulders and your crown lifted. Now spread your fingers wide, your pinkies at the outside of your outer thighs. Engage the biceps, triceps and imagine all the muscles in your entire body “fired up.” Make sure you’re breathing. You can alternately place your hands in prayer position at your heart center and push your palms toward one another, squeezing the muscles in your arms as you do.

Now, next time you’re standing in a group of people, subtly engage in mountain pose and see if they notice. If they don’t, perhaps some victorious (ujjayi breath) breathing will do the trick. Seriously, though, you can engage your muscles anytime, anywhere. Most importantly, anytime you’re feeling disconnected or detached emotionally, this pose will bring you back to a sense of grounding. You can do it anywhere, anytime, modifying it as you need. No more excuses!

Some benefits of mountain pose: Improves focus, develops will power, reduces mild anxiety, aligns the spine, tones abs and glutes, opens the chest, improves posture, and strengthens arches, ankles, knees and thighs. (Source: Hatha Yoga Illustrated)

Yoga

Son Salutations

Knowing, memorizing and executing Son Salutations can be transformative in your life. Waking up with a few Son Salutations can be energizing, as you set your intentions for the day and surrender physically — and emotionally — to God as a form of worship and prayer.

Here is the handout my class got a few weeks ago with directions on how to do Son Salutations. We’d love to have you join us in a class, but if you’re not able, try doing this flow. You can find the class information by clicking on the HOLY YOGA tab on my homepage.

Son Salutation