Monthly Archives: October 2011

Holy Yoga: An Inspired Stream of Consciousness


I had so many memorable moments at the Holy Yoga retreat, it is difficult to choose which to write about. While mulling through my memories over a quiet moment with a chai tea latte, I decided on this story:
The most memorable moment of the weekend involved my feet: my size ten, embarrassingly un-pedicured, lanky-toed paws. They caused me to weep, mind you. “Oh,” you’re thinking… “You were at a yoga retreat… think of them as shaggy chic, organic, natural feet. Like a gal who wouldn’t wear make-up might chose to let her feet go natural as well.” No sister, it wasn’t that at all. These were ‘for real’ tears… I was moved… by… my…feet.
Rachel, our instructor for the last session, asked us to sit up, bringing the soles of our feet together. This gentle command was followed with another that directed us to hold each of our feet and begin a massage. I dutifully followed the instructions and the result completely caught me by surprise. Slowly, like a gentle wave rolling ashore and gaining momentum, feelings welled up inside of me and unfurled like a main-sail catching a great gust. The tears began to fall. As I sat there with my feet in my hands, they took on a life of their own. I recalled all of the events in my life they had transported me through as unwilling participants that were never able to make their own choices; sort of like the relationship of Miss Daisy and Hoke Colburn, the chauffeur. Of course, Daisy’s and Hoke’s relationship softened and matured over time, much like the relationship that was revealed to me as I sat on my yoga mat with my sweet little feet in my hands.
They have carried me well through the years; as a little child in the in the surf of Florida’s coastal waters, they struggled to maintain balance after being struck over and over again by the big waves; they’ve climbed rocks in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, combed beaches from coast to coast, summited a fourteen thousand foot peak in Colorado and balanced on windsurfers and surfboards as sharks darted beneath me. They have marched in parades and led bands in halftime shows. They mastered the muscle memory involved in learning to drive a stick shift. While digging into the wet sand to drag a catamaran out from the surf during a downpour and electrical storm, they survived an electrocution from lightning
They carried me down the aisle to marry my best friend, and transported me to Chinese soil where I received my beloved daughters. I’ve tortured them through half-marathons, mini- triathlons and crazy relay endurance races. I’ve logged many miles running up and down hospital corridors, responding to emergencies, traumas and cardiac arrests. They’ve been my main support as I cared for the sick, the addicted, and the gravely injured. They have been peed on, vomited on, and christened by most body fluids. They endured the death of my father and the untimely, tragic death of my mother. They got me to the hospital as quickly as they could when my husband averted death only thru the grace and mercy of God. They have supported my weight through many anguished prayers.
My feet have danced on ships, under the light of the moon, and while cruising down the Pearl River in Guangzhou. They have celebrated at weddings and mourned at funerals. They peddled too many bicycles to remember, pounded the pavement thru many neighborhoods, and gently prodded horses along a trail. They have chased after a particular beagle named Sammy thru briars and brush that a rabbit couldn’t navigate. They have waded in mountain streams, cooled themselves in alpine lakes, and been bitten by dozens of ants and other insects over the years as they performed their duty.
Yes, all of these thoughts went thru my mind simultaneously as I clutched and tenderly massaged my feet. I began to cry with them, for them, and because of them. I cradled them as friends who had been through the best and worst of times with me; stuck things out through thick and thin. As the exercise drew to an end, I lay back on the mat with one hand covering my heart and the other my belly. After a few more minutes of quiet introspection and meditation, I felt the brushing of a warm washcloth across my toes. Then a slow caress and the unmistakable feel of someone washing my feet. I felt like a child being cared for; someone loved me enough to touch and care for these indentured servants. She was taking time to lead through serving. The teacher was washing the feet of the student. This was a “moment” for me. Someone, a Holy Yoga instructor, was gently loving and caring thru the lowly task of foot-washing. Jesus said to Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” To receive this sort of demonstration of service from another human being is to commune with the Most High. It is an intimate, selfless act of worship directed toward our Creator and bestowed upon a brother or sister. It is a gift.
This foot-washing punctuated one of the most poignant streams of consciousness I’ve experienced. The tears fell and my pent up grief, joy, sadness and dogged acceptance of my life took a turn into a place of spiritual wellness that is growing still.
So this was my moment: A simple directive from a yoga instructor that yielded the sweetness of timeless memories and culminated with a ‘sole’fully-received gift of agape.