I went to a yoga class today, like a good social worker. Yoga is one of the ways that I practice “self care” in my life. I find that yoga is helpful for me physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. It helps me to release the tension built up from a draining day, to let go of things that are beyond my control, to tune in and listen to my body, and to God.
While I enjoy a rigorous practice- as today’s was- I also look forward to the end of the class, the resting time.
The rest, “shavasana” is the part at the end where you basically get to lay there on the floor, on your mat, in silence. And while you are technically not doing anything, some say it is the most important part of the yoga practice.
As I settled into stillness today, our teacher reminded us of the importance of this time of rest. So often in our culture, we are encouraged to move, to run around, to do, to accomplish. Here, laying on the floor, we just have to be. I must let go of all my to-do lists and worries of the day, at least for a few moments, and just be.
It is when I slow down, and can just be that a couple musings come to mind. First, I start to question what all this doing is for. Second, I question who I am without doing these things. Who am I just lying on this mat? Today, the answer came quickly. I am beloved, intimately loved and known by God.
It struck me that even if all I ever did for the rest of my life was lay on this mat, God would still love me. Ultimately, it is not about what I do, but who God has created me to be. When I lay still, and stop all the “doing,” then I can hear the still, small voice that tells me that I am beloved no matter what I do.
After a few minutes in silence, the yoga teacher spoke again, and I began to wiggle my fingers and toes, preparing for the end of class, for entering the real world once again. Alas, I will not lay on my mat forever. God has also created me with passions and desires- a love for people, a love for relationships, for writing, for being outside in nature, for dancing and singing. I am compelled to work for justice and hope for myself and others in small ways. And I will do all of these things. But if I can sit in silence, only for a few moments, I can be reminded of God’s love that surpasses all of my doing.
I can just be.