Devotions during July are written by Sarah Grow. Sarah recently moved to Lyon, France from Minnesota and uses her yoga practice to connect with her new community. This series explores how yoga can be a tool to connect to the world regardless of the context. 

Scripture: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25: 35, 40

Spiritual Focus: “One must be connected with their breath to feel their body. A connection to the body allows one to feel their heart. A connection with the heart allows one to become clear about their values so that they may connect with their humanity…From the breath, body, heart and awareness of humanity, one must take action.” Michelle Cassandra Johnson, yoga teacher, author and activist

Breath prayer: Inhale, root down, Exhale, reach out

Devotion: Recently I joined friends for lunch at La Petite Cantine, a local restaurant where anyone can come and prepare a meal together and then sit down around the table and eat it. While we savored three courses of delicious food featuring local produce, the real joy was sharing the experience with our neighbors and connecting with the community. After the meal, we brought back two buckets of compost scraps from the morning’s preparation to the compost site near our house. I pondered the nourishment from the meal in my belly, the contentment in my heart from our time together, and the food scraps that would now be composted to fertilize the soil— no doubt to produce food for some future meal thus completing the cycle. 

This week our Muslim neighbors celebrate the festival of Eid al Adha, a holiday which commemorates the faithfulness of Ibrahim (Abraham) and God’s providence. When my family lived in Senegal, we were always invited to share this feast with our friends. Traditionally, the food is shared with the family, friends and neighbors, and the poor. Each year we graciously received gifts of food and fresh mutton, knowing that these were signs of their hospitality and care for us as foreigners. 

The Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu sacred text, teaches yoga is “skill in action” (2.50), particularly karma yoga which includes our actions and the fruits of our actions. Karma yoga focuses on service and its impact on the community. When our body, mind, heart, and breath are connected, we tap into the foundations of our faith, drawing on both knowledge and experience of our faith teachings and traditions. From this foundation, we practice reaching out to connect intentionally and act skillfully, extending the values of care and compassion to those around us. 

Practice pose: Seated or standing, come into Warrior Two. Inhale as you raise your arms above your head and straighten both legs. Sense energy simultaneously rooting down and rising upward. Draw your hands together, exhale as you lower them in front of your heart, and then open your arms back out, extending them from the heart as you flex the front knee and return to Warrior Two. Sense energy extending outward from your center. Options: Repeat as a flow. Alternate sides. Add sound. 

© 2020 Yogadevotion | Made with love.
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