50 Minutes

Advanced Christian Yoga Flow Filmed in Mexico City

Matthew 14:14-21 (ESV)

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

We are quick to put God in a box. We put him in the Sunday morning church God or an inspirational God. But in these verses we see Jesus wanting to challenge their ideas about who he is. He wants to show the crowd and the disciples that he cares about all of their needs, including their physical needs.

As we step on our mats, may we expect Him to move in miraculous ways. Let's choose to remain and trust that He will show up in ways we can't even imagine. All the while we'll be meditating on the boxes we are prone to put Jesus in and how He loves to blow open those boxes to show us how wide and deep His love is.

Yoga + Journaling Practice

This Intention Setting practice is perfect for a new year or a new season to reconnect with the heart of God and cast vision over this newness. This practice is  designed to help cultivate gratitude and attentiveness to the presence of God.

We'll be using the #Lookatyou2018 worksheet as a guide for this reflection time so you can follow this link to print it out or just copy it over to your journal.

First Journaling Break: Remember Where You've Been and What God Has Done

The theme for this practice comes from Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." 

What the Holy Spirit says to us through this Psalm is not, "Delight in me and I'll give you what you want," but, "As you delight in me I will shape the desires of your heart so you can go after them knowing fully that they are coming from Me." Isn't this beautiful? We don't need to be afraid of our desires, but can bring them into His presence right now. 

The #Lookatyou2018 worksheet was birthed a couple years ago right around the New Year when the Holy Spirit was saying to me, "Caroline, look at you! Look at all you've done this year and who you've become!" In response, all I could say to God was, "Father, look at you! Look at all You have done this year!" This space is where we are going to cultivate our gratitude and delight in the character of God and His Kingdom.

Psalm 100:4 (ESV) 

"Enter His gates with Thanksgiving."

As you reflect on the last year, think of the growth you experienced. Like a tree, INWARD growth is the roots underneath the soil. You never see the roots, but they contribute greatly to the strength of the tree. This is all the hearth growth, the wrestling, the fervent prayers, the change of attitudes or beliefs. UPWARD growth is any traditional milestone, so take this time to celebrate a new job you may have obtained this last year or celebrate you moving to a new city, etc. OUTWARD growth is like the leaves and branches of a tree that provide shade and covering for the people around you. How has your life expanded and how have lived outside of yourself this last year (money/time/talent given away, new relationships built, etc.)?

Second Journaling Break: God, What Do You Desire for Me This Season/Year?

We turn back to the worksheet to dream ahead to the next year or season and all the growth we desire.

In conversation with the Holy Spirit, write down the INWARD growth you desire this coming year, the UPWARD growth you desire, and the OUTWARD growth you desire to see this next season. Don't get caught up in the overwhelming thoughts about what you can or can't do in response, but instead partner with God in this moment, in His desires for you.

Acts 5:38-39 (ESV)

"So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

1 John 5:4 (ESV)

"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world."

Here are some additional questions to journal through during or after this practice:

What do I need to say yes to?

What do I need to say no to?

How will I attend to this personally?

How will I steward this with my family? My community?

How will I steward this in the work I'm doing?

How will I steward this with my time and energy? 

45 min Intermediate Flow filmed in Scotland!

This 45 minute practice is great if you've been sitting for a long time and just need to move. Think lots of hip and leg stretches, heart opening (hello, Wild Thing!), and balancing. Plenty of opportunities along the way to make it more advanced or less challenging depending on your ability today. 

The theme for this practice comes from Psalm 100:3, "Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."

I filmed this practice in the middle of a long road trip through the Northern Highlands of Scotland, 10 days of unplugging from the internet, social media, my inbox, and work. These are the words that encouraged me during this time:

“Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: ‘May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.’ But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese" 

“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.” 

― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Embrace Your Individuality: 50 min. Arm Balancing Christian Yoga Flow

strengthen your body + calm your mind + open your heart + connect with God

Flow Description

Fire up your core, strengthen your upper body, embrace your uniqueness, and learn to take flight in this 50 minute arm balancing practice. Whether you’re brand new to arm balances or you’ve been building them into your practice for years, you’ll find something to challenge and encourage you in this practice.

We spend a lot of time working our core strength and play with two arm balances: Tolasana (Scale Pose) and Bakasana (Crow Pose). Having two yoga blocks, or a couple stacks of books nearby will be super helpful in exploring these poses, so make sure to grab them before you hit play.

Our theme for this practice is embracing our uniqueness and the importance of you and I running in our own lanes in order to best reflect God’s love to the world around us.

In an essay titled The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis writes, “Each of the Redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can…Each has something to tell all others – fresh and ever-fresh news of the ‘My God’ whom…all praise as ‘Our God.’” 

This is why we must stop the comparison game and choose instead to embrace our individuality…even (and especially) on our yoga mats.

So no matter where you are on your yoga journey, no matter what physical or emotional challenges you’re walking through, have grace for yourself and embrace the beautiful and unique calling on your life.

Scriptures

{1 Corinthians 12:12-31, emphasis added}

12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

19-24 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

27-31 You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything. You’re familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his “body”:

apostles
prophets
teachers
miracle workers
healers
helpers
organizers
those who pray in tongues.

But it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christ’s church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It’s not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called “important” parts.

But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.

 

Questions

C.S. Lewis wrote that “Each of the Redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can.” What aspect of God’s beauty do you resonate with uniquely? What part of his character do you find yourself constantly soaking in and encouraging others in?

What truth do you need to remind yourself of today, to help you run in your lane, to sing your unique song?