True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
Psalm 23:3 The Message
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” John DePaola
Randomly, spontaneously, a young man decided to take a walk through the park. Simply ambling along the pathway, enjoying the birdsong, appreciating the variety of plant life; and drawing slow, deep breaths was refreshing. Pausing for a short time to catch his breath and formulate his thoughts, he was rewarded with an immediate sense of calm. But not much farther into the walk people started whizzing past him on their bikes with cautioning cries of “On your left!” Speed walkers strode past him, almost elbowing him off the path. When he came across some friends, they ran in place while talking with him, not wanting to disrupt their workout. And when he inquired, “How are you?” they responded with audible sighs, “BUSY!”
We all recognize ourselves in this scene, either as the one stopping to catch our breath or as the one who is trying to squeeze in a walk in the form of a workout. Omid Safi, a writer for the radio show On Being and a professor at Duke University, expresses it this way: “This disease of being ‘busy’ (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most, our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.”
Our Scripture verse for today is from a familiar passage that promises that we can rest and catch our breath and that God will not only guard our time but will help us get back on to the path of healing and wholeness. Our yoga practice teaches us how to catch our breath through asana, meditation, and simply practicing. The invitation to slow down and just breathe is found at the crossroads of yoga and faith practices. Pausing to regain our perspective reinforces the promise that God longs to—and can—cure our dis-ease of busyness.
Inhale I Will Exhale Slow Down
Focus Pose: I remember being told when I first started practicing yoga that Downward Facing Dog, adho mukha svanasana, was considered a resting pose. “You’ve got to be kidding,” I thought to myself, all too aware of my aching calves and arms. It’s funny how things change. Today I love to come into Down Dog during a vinyasa flow to rest and come back to my breath. Modifying the pose may be the key for many to find the promised rest in the pose. Placing hands on blocks, a chair, or a wall can create variation and comfort in the pose. Knees may stay bent or remain on the floor. All we really need to do in Down Dog is slow down: to come into our breath, lengthen the torso as we open our heart center, and rest!