In times of unrest, especially now, many of us feel the need to be “right,” in standing up for what we believe in the face of injustice. We are called to stand with the marginalized and oppressed, but how does our own righteousness get in the way of healing and liberation for all? to help us stay open to the present and what needs to be done right now, to liberate ourselves as well as those around us.
Consider allowing the breath prayer to lead you into a self-directed, liberating asana practice, mindfully moving into whatever you need right now.
She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. — Luke 13
The Spiritual Focus
“For to be free is not merely to cast off our chains, but live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela
It has been said that Jesus’ ministry on earth was comprised of ⅓ preaching, ⅓ teaching and ⅓ healing. The healing story in our scripture today is one of the many miraculous healings that Jesus performed. The woman, crippled and bent over for 18 years, is healed by Jesus’ words and by his touch. Jesus was teaching in the synagogue; he saw her, stopped teaching, called her over and healed her, set her free. The woman was a daughter of Abraham, in the synagogue because she was a woman of faith. An encounter with Jesus and she was liberated from pain and suffering….she was made whole.
This is only one point in the story, another point in the story was that Jesus did this on the Sabbath. Healing on the Sabbath was considered work and forbidden. Jesus knew that and healed her anyway. The church priests and scribes were furious, having more concern for the law than the fact that Jesus had just liberated this woman from pain and suffering.
Rev. Barbara Lundblad notes the reaction of the religious leaders in this story. In her sermon on the bent over woman she said, “How can it be that the liberation of one threatens another? Isn’t liberation of one liberation for all?”
In yoga we talk about the integrity of our practice when we honor our body. We talk about the freedom to modify our poses and that freedom liberates us to experience the practice more fully. Interestingly, when we choose to modify we not only experience the benefits ourselves, but give visual permission to our neighbor to be free and modify as well. A liberated yoga practice as well as a faith practice that embraces freedom threatens no one and has the potential of freedom for all.
Inhale: I am free
Exhale: We are free