yoga as spiritual discipline

What are you overcompensating for?

Last month, spending some time with my mother-in-law, she talked about how her injured knee was wrecking havoc with her hips and back; other parts of her skeleton were trying to help her knee out, but her hips and spine weren’t designed to do that kind of work, and so they were in pain too.

For years, I’d worked on revolved triangle pose, but I could tell that something wasn’t quite right; things didn’t feel like they were lining up right, I didn’t feel muscular stretch or contraction in significant places–something was off. Then, in July, in a class I took while at yoga teacher training in Asheville, a teacher used just one finger to make a small adjustment to the rotation of my hip, and the whole pose was shifted.  It’s a pose with a deep twist, and so I’d been overcompensating and putting too much of the twist in my hip joint instead of feeling the twist more powerfully in my spine and shoulders.

Just one minute shift–a correction with one finger!–transformed my entire bodily and spiritual experience of the pose. What about in our lives?  What ways might I be ovecompensating with one part of my life (because of ignorance or because of resistance to reality or truth) to cover up or misuse another part of my life?  Often in yoga, our bodies automatically shift stretches or contractions to more flexible or stronger parts of our bodies to avoid the challenge of tight places or weaker places (like my mother in law’s knee, and my over-flexible hip joint).  What un-examined–even shameful or sinful–places of our lives are we avoiding by over-extending and over-using and over-exposing other parts of our lives?  Whatever we’re doing that’s out of whack–out of line with truth, humility, and the Holy Spirit–creates all kind of problems spiritual and relational while we’re trying to hide.

Today on the Covenant Blog, I talk about how to start re-aligning ourselves in order to develop a strong, appropriately flexible and well-formed life. Check out my post entitled “Foundations.”

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2 thoughts on “yoga as spiritual discipline

  1. This post very much appreciated both for the comments about the physical adjustments rendered in the yoga class and the insight into overcompensation in a spiritual sense. You are very wise in your words.

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