The Scripture ~ Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20:26-29
The Spiritual Focus ~ “Your body, for as long as possible will be faithful to living. It does not ask to be broken or wear out but instead says, ‘ok, let’s regroup. Let’s go.’ The body is always moving toward living for as long as possible.” Matthew Sanford
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – I Am, Exhale – alive
The Devotion ~ Father Tom Ryan, Paulist priest and yoga instructor notes that in Christianity we have the highest theology of the body and the lowest practices that include the body. As post resurrection Christians we are called to believe like Thomas but without the physical ability to touch Jesus body. Jesus embodies or is the tangible form of life over death in the Easter narrative. His is the perfect union of body, mind and spirit, one definition of yoga. The repeated call to believe is a faith practice that when integrated into our daily lives brings healing.
During the month of April Yogadevotion is partnering with Mind Body Solutions, a nonprofit yoga center founded by author and yogi Matthew Sanford, that teaches that yoga is for everyBODY. Matthew is a prolific writer/author on topic of the mind/body connection especially with bodies that don’t work as they once did. He has been a paraplegic since the age of 13, he is in his mid 40’s now. He writes about his experiences of coming home to a body through yoga, to a body that is different each day. His language in his work talks about silence as teacher, presence, grief and regrouping. He writes of his experience of compassion, grace and healing in the body/mind/spirit connection with a body that is always trying to do its best. One of his greatest contributions is to note that our subtle bodies, prompted by our mind and breath can experience asana that our bodies can’t physically do.
A memorable example of such teaching is when he and his assistants guide people with limited mobility in chairs or onto their mats, on their bellies and ask them to stretch out from the tips of their toes to their fingertips. To grow and fly like supermen even if they can’t use a single muscle. Believing in the body/mind/spirit connection is an embody faith and yoga practice we can all experience.