Balancing Act

Balancing Act March 24, 2011

For all of you who are wondering, that’s not me in the picture. 

No, really, it’s not. 

I mean, I was going to demonstrate this balancing pose and have someone take a picture so I could put it on the blog, but then I got too busy so I had to find a picture of someone else….


We started yoga classes at Calvary this week.  The advent of yoga at Calvary was not a long-time-coming, strategic programming plan like everything else that happens here (a-hem!).  It really came unexpectedly from a convergence of several different things. 

Folks in our building—both Calvary staff and the staff of our resident partners—were lamenting lack of exercise and mounting stress in their lives (what’s new, I ask?).  This resulted in the beginning of a building-wide weekly basketball game, an option some of us found less-than-thrilling. 

Also we’ve entered the church season of Lent, when many of us are wandering around looking for ways to be more mindful and intentional in our thoughts and prayers. 

And, I happened to meet Caitlin Van Hecke, a yoga instructor who recently moved to town from Asheville, NC, and was looking for a place to teach a few classes. 

I figured the intersection of these three, and most especially my dread at the thought of basketball in the church gym in the middle of the day on Thursdays, was a sign that we should take the next few weeks of Lent to roll out our yoga mats together and explore what happens when a bunch of Baptists start using Sanskrit words in casual conversation.

We held our first yoga class during lunch hour this past Tuesday.  It was rigorous and relaxing, as expected, but as I was trying desperately to balance through some of the more complicated poses, I kept thinking about life.

Why do I always do that? 

I feel sometimes that life is life a big balancing act.  

Some days I can stay perfectly still and poised, with my left foot grounded and my right foot bent to my left thigh and my hands at my heart in prayer.  I choose an unmoving object up ahead on which to focus my eyes, I relax my shoulders and breathe.  And I stand there, balancing, until I gracefully come back to a standing position at the direction of the teacher.

Uh, yeah.  Some days are like that.

And most days are like this: the teacher says, “Ground your left foot as firmly as you can into your mat.  Get all the support you can through the intentional placement of that foot.  Then, lift your right leg and bend your knee, placing your foot as high on your left thigh as you can.  Gently and mindfully, bring your hands together to prayer position at your heart, and breathe deeply…” to which I proceed to roll my eyes in utter disbelief, try the pose, look toward the teacher for help, grab desperately for the wall or the person next to me as my arms flail, and try not to break anything as I fall.

Yeah, most days feel like this to me.

Despite the new yoga opportunity at Calvary, I can’t recall Jesus ever talking much about yoga…or finding and maintaining balance in one’s life, even; I would bet it would have been hard to do a good warrior pose in a robe and sandals anyway. 

But I do know that Jesus talked all the time about priorities—about knowing what you love most of all and constructing your life to clearly reflect that love. 

And I guess that’s the kind of balance I want most of all—a life that, whether seen from the vantage point of a headstand in perfect form or from flat on the floor staring up in failure, is balanced to always reflect the love of Jesus Christ.

I think that somewhere in this big, wide world there are people who go through life breathing deeply, living mindfully, balancing perfectly. 

I am not one of them. 

And, frankly, though I am certain I will not be playing basketball anytime soon, I don’t know whether I will keep trying for super, duper balancing perfection, either.  Instead, I’ll probably just keep working on trying not to break anything…and also living life in such a way that sometimes, when I get the balance just right or maybe even when I don’t, somebody might be able to catch a glimpse of the love of Jesus in whatever balancing act I can muster.

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