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[Yoga - More Than A Good Stretch]

by Lydia Penner

[woman sitting in Lotus Position]THE THOUGHT HAD been on my mind for a while - why not take a yoga class? The city's Leisure Guide was sitting on my kitchen counter and, when I finally decided to look, there was a class beginning the next day. Though I feared it would be full, one quick phone call later I was signed up. I believe it was no accident that I got in so swiftly, for it is said that the universe conspires to help our deepest dreams come true.

As I sat in that first yoga circle, waiting for class to begin, I wondered what I would find. I had tried other meditation classes, but had not stayed with the practice after the classes were done. Would I be able to stick it out after the 10 weeks were up? Would this spiritual discipline be a good match for my temperament? Would it help my headaches? Or would this be another experience that I would dabble in and then leave?

Heather, the yoga teacher, sat cross-legged in the classic meditation position, and smiled at us. "This," she began, touching her thumb and forefinger together, "is the heart of yoga. Yoga is a bringing together of that which has been separate in our lives, a way of uniting opposites." As she spoke of the spirituality of yoga, I smiled, forgetting about the passing of time. I remembered the prayer of Augustine which I had made my own over the years, "O God, you have made us for Yourself. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You". My restless heart and God - this was the bringing together that I had always desired.

[Yoga is a bringing together of that which has been separate in our lives, a way uniting opposites.]
Each person around the circle was asked what had brought them here. Many spoke of physical pains, and some spoke of mental anguish for which they hoped they could find peace. I felt shooting pains throughout my back. One comment the teacher made to another person seemed meant for me. "While it's good to experiment with different spiritual disciplines, after a while it's important to decide and stick with something." I decided that evening to stick with yoga. My heart said yes.

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[Woman Sitting In Lotus Position]