Getting My “Om” On

Since Ash Wednesday, I’ve been getting my “om” on twice weekly. This is the second year that I’ve decided to add Yoga to my life during the season of Lent. I find that taking time to do something relaxing and meditative is much better for my spirit than depriving myself of something for 40 days–although I understand the religious associations with the latter. I grew up giving up soda or ice cream each Lenten season. (Although, to be honest, I thought it was completely unfair that Spring Break fell during that time, and granted myself a one week reprieve, which I justified by starting my Lent one week early.) And, although I was mindful of why I wasn’t allowing myself to indulge my cravings for carbonation or frozen desserts, I didn’t find myself feeling very spiritual about the experience–more just grumpy.

That’s why I decided to make a commitment to add something in to my life every year at Lent. The first year, I prayed daily. The second year, I exercised twice a week–this was back when that was not a part of my lifestyle. I think I skipped a couple years at the beginning of college, but then my senior year I tried the Yoga thing.

Yoga allows my mind and body to connect in a way that nothing else does. When I allow my mind to release all extraneous thought, and I spend time focusing on inhales, exhales, and fluid movements, I feel thankful for my strong body, my strong mind, and the God that blessed me with them. That connectedness becomes rooted deep within me until I feel it at times–even when I’m not practicing Yoga. It gives me patience, gentleness, love, kindness, and joy. Basically, I find myself over-flowing with the fruits of the spirit.

I love to practice a variety of Yoga. Some days, I challenge myself with a Power Yoga class at my gym. Other days, it’s Yoga on the mat in my living room with a Shiva Rea DVD. (My puppies like “sacred rolling” the best.) Recently, I started going to a Yoga studio close by, and have been impressed by how experiential those practices are. (Last week, I vocalized my first “om”.)

Every time I start doing Yoga with fidelity, I tell myself I’m going to keep it up this time. But then, without fail, things get in the way. Half-marathon training runs, the appeal of a higher-calorie-burning workout, or just life in general. This time, though, I’m hoping the practice will become habit, so that next year I’ll need to find a new Lenten devotion…