From the blog found at Yogadevotionthebook.com, please visit and subscribe.
Have you wondered why we named our book’s blog, Extra Grace Required? Here is the back-story. In my first year as an ordained pastor, I found myself shocked one day by a tirade from one of our church’s most faithful and supportive members. The topic of his ire is not important, that anybody could say the things he said to anyone, let alone a group of pastors and church members who had walked with him through many tough situations, left me speechless. All I could do was pause and breathe. The war within me was: 1) should I respond with my well honed psych nurse voice, 2) should I default to my Welsh/English upbringing and not respond in kind, or 3) should I dig deeper for the pastoral voice? While I was sorting through my options, the man stomped away and the lead pastor standing next to me simply smiled and said, “ Well that was an eager situation.” Not understanding what he meant I looked at him with a quizzical expression and he explained, “ Extra Grace Required.”
Since that time I have been in many E.G.R. situations. I do not claim that I have always been able to act with the Extra Grace Required of the moment, but I am working on it; it is a place where faith and yoga connect. Yoga teaches to do no harm, and to practice non-judgment. Faith teaches that we receive unmerited grace from a loving God who continues to lavish us with grace upon grace. We put our faith into action when we extend to those who need it, our abundant gift of grace.
We will have many opportunities in this New Year to extend grace. As with the irate man in my story, we can find space to extend grace to another when we stop and breathe—space that is not always available to us in the active moment. In our integrated faith and yoga practice we practice creating “grace space”, leaning into the pause, opening ourselves to God’s presence. God’s grace is pure gift; receiving it as pure gift requires no action on our part but realizing that gift takes practice, practice tuning into the experience of God’s grace. Once we are tuned into God’s grace we are refreshed in body, mind, and spirit and more available to extend grace to others.
It is our hope to share experiences through our blog that describe our efforts to integrate our faith and yoga practice for the benefit of our relationship with God, a relationship that is only truly lived out in relationship with each other. May 2017 be an E.G.R. year for us all!
“May the Lord Bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God give you grace not to sell yourselves short,
Grace to risk something big for something good,
Grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but love.
May God take your minds and think through them.
May God take your lips and speak through them.
May God take your hands and work through them.
May God take your hearts and set them on fire.”
–William Sloane Coffin