Christian yoga has been an incredible way for me to strengthen my body, work on my scoliosis, and have time to meditate and spend time with God. Since our bodies are a temple and the Holy Spirit lives in us, why not involve our bodies in our worship to God?
Today, I will lead you through a light, restorative moving meditation (including photos to guide you through the poses), and the theme of the practice today is on overcoming fear.
Grab a mat and get ready! As we begin, go ahead and sit cross legged in a comfortable seated position. Roll your shoulders back and sit up nice and tall.
Many times in my life, I’ve allowed small fears to plant seeds in my mind, body, heart, and soul. These seeds took root and grew and turned to stresses, anxieties, and insecurities. There is a quote by Max Lucado I love which says:
“We subject ourselves to a position of fear, allowing anxiety to dominate and define our lives. Joy-sapping worries. Day–numbing dread. Repeated bouts of insecurity that petrify and paralyze us. Fear will always knock on your door. Just don’t let it in. Learn to trust more and fear less.”
Easier said than done, right?
Slowly work your way into rest pose (or sometimes in yoga this is called child’s pose). You will sit all the way back onto your heals and reach your arms all the way out in front of you, allowing your head to rest on the mat.
Think about that word from the quote, “position”, as we will be in many postures today during our moving meditation, imagine how our lives could change if we first changed our posture toward fear?
What if instead of pacing back and forth during times of stress, we sat down, closed our eyes, and prayed for a successful outcome.
If instead of panicking and moaning over financial troubles, we actually took the time to ask God to help us and provide.
I know it sounds basic, but how many times do we get consumed in fear before even giving our worries to God?
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him… “(1 Peter 5:7 AMP).
My favorite bible verse in 1 John 4:18 tells us that the perfect love casts out all fear. It goes on to say that whoever is in fear has not been perfected in love. I have good news for you friends: Jesus Christ has the perfect love for us, so we don’t have to be chained to these fears anymore.
While you’re in this rest pose, simply flip palms facing up as a posture of letting go of this fear and having open hands to receive God’s perfect love.
Go ahead and slowly bring yourself onto your hands and knees into a table top position.
Working with your breath, move through cat-cow pose. With every inhale, lift your head all the way up toward the ceiling. When you exhale, bring your chin all the way into your chest. (Repeat this, breathing deeply, for about 20 breaths.)
Flex your toes and slowly push up into downward facing dog position…straightening the arms and legs. You can shift your weight and bend your knees in this position to provide comfort and relief.
Challenge yourself, holding this position for about 20-30 deep breaths, then slowly bring your body down into plank position/push up position with a flat back.
Bend your knees, bringing them down to the floor, and come back into your tabletop position. Relax the head and neck.
Cross your right arm under the body laying right ear on the floor, relaxing and breathing for a few moments.
Come back to the tabletop position.
Cross your left arm under the body laying left ear on the floor, relaxing and breathing here for a few moments.
Isaiah 41:10 says:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Come back to your tabletop position and push back up into downward facing dog.
For some of you, this exercise may feel challenging today. Letting go of fear can be challenging. Trusting God can be challenging. Letting go of insecurities can be challenging. But it’s crucial that we learn to trust in God and overcome the difficulties of life.
Still in downward facing dog, life your right leg up into the air behind you, straight back. Hold this for 10 breaths.
Bend that right leg, bringing it into your chest.
Bring it back to the floor, foot on the mat.
Lower to plank position push-up position and lower your body all the way onto the floor
When you’re ready, come back up into downdog.
Lift your left leg into the air behind you. Hold this for 10 breaths.
Hug that left leg into your chest, bending the knee.
Bring it back to the floor, foot on mat.
Bring your body to a plank push up position.
Slowly use your arms to lower down all the way to the floor.
While you’re on the floor, I don’t know about you friends but sometimes my fear has crippled me and left me flat on the floor, crying to god, crying to myself, or crying to my chihuahua. How many times have you felt deflated or defeated?
In this pose, think about how God is able to bring us out of our fear, break those chains and set us free.
Again, push to downdog, holding for a few breaths.
Then, gently come back to plank position.
Lower yourself slowly to the floor.
And find freedom when you lift your chest, straightening the arms into cobra pose.
One more time in this sequence (downdog, plank, slowly to the floor, and cobra).
Fear can take root and grow in our lives. It fills our minds with lies.
Push back into downdog, and bring your right foot all the way between your hands into a lunge. When you gain your balance, slowly stand up in this lunge and allow your right arm to reach forward with your left arm straight behind into warrior pose.
Through these struggles and fears and trials, God is preparing you to be His warrior. Regain your strength in this moment. Remember that you are an ambassador of Christ and no struggle can break your mission He has for you.
Slowly bend your back slightly, facing upward, bringing your arms up to the ceiling in this gentle bend.
Come back to center, and slowly bring your right hand down to your toes while the left arm reaches for the stars in triangle pose.
Bring your other hand down to the mat, place your right leg back, and push back into downdog.
Bring your left foot all the way between your hands into a lunge. When you gain your balance, slowly stand up in this lunge and allow your left arm to reach forward with your right arm straight behind into warrior pose.
Repeat with your bend and triangle pose on this side.
Fear binds us. It controls us. It cripples us. Fear is a prison. If you want to be set free from this bondage today let out a big sigh on your next breath.
Once you return to downdog, bring your body to a tabletop position by bending the knees, then slowly sit back onto your heals into rest/child’s pose once again.
Philippians 4:6-7 Says:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). This reminds me of the mother of Jesus at the wedding in Cana. The reception was out of wine, a huge social no-no. Now-Mary could have blamed the host for poor planning or the guests for overdrinking, but she didn’t go crazy. No therapy sessions or counseling. Instead, she took the shortage straight to Jesus. “When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine'” (John 2:3). Think about how plain and simple that is. She stated it to Jesus-no panic, no desperate questioning. See how quickly you can do the same. Assess the problem. Take it to Jesus and state it clearly.
So friends, my question for you is, have you even taken your fears and requests to God? Have you surrendered them to Him?
Take a moment to really visualize your fears. Think about where they came from. What is the root of these anxieties?
On your next breath, flip your palms facing up, exhale, and let God take those fears out of your hands.
Slowly and gently lay onto your back and hug your knees into your chest.
Slowly rock your body back and forth, feeling that little massage on the back.
Still hugging your knees, fall over to the right side. Hold this position for a few relaxing breaths.
Roll back to center, and onto the left side.
Come back to center.
Extend your knees out, laying completely flat on the floor. Arms by your side into this rest pose. In yoga, some call this “corpse pose”, but I will call this a resting pose because we are alive indeed, amen?
This may be the only quiet relaxing time you get all week so don’t be afraid of the still and silence. Close your eyes and allow your mind to relax.
Max Lucado suggests that over a period of days we should record our anxious thoughts. Maintain a list of all the things that trouble you. Then review them. How many of them turned into a reality? You worried that the house would burn down. Did it? That the world would end. Did it? We let these fears control us while many of them aren’t even a reality, especially to God. Make the decision today to commit to daily resting time to meditate on the Lord and let go of anxiety, stress, and fear.