Prayer for Breathing

The other night I went to a yoga class and as I consider yoga part of my spiritual practice, I was listening to the instructor talk to us about grounding ourselves through our feet. Immediately I went to the Ephesians 6 passage that starts off the armor of God by putting on our feet “the gospel of peace.” Peace needs to be our foundation, the thing that grounds us and the basis for the way we move through the world. Lately, all of the talk has been about “just war” and more specifically, just death as it applies to Osama bin Laden. All kinds of theological gymnastics have been performed on both sides to say yes, it’s fine to kill an evil person, or no it’s not. You can go both ways in scripture, as you can with most anything. At the end of the day, I’m for peace and want everything I do to be grounded in peace. I don’t believe the death of this one person will bring peace to the world. He wasn’t relevant on the terror scene for the last 10 years – other groups have arisen who have caused much more destruction. He was a human being. He did have a family. If we are called to love our enemies, we are called to love him. It’s hard. It’s counter-intuitive, but it is much easier to argue with the Bible than to submit to it, and ultimately we are called to submit in obedience.

This particular yoga class was a little more hard core because we had a substitute instructor and she just kept going. I had to rest more than a few times, as did a few other people, and a couple actually left class. I’m glad I stuck it out, though, because we got to some deeper, less vigorous poses & stretches. There was one particular hamstring stretch that was causing a lot of pain for me because I have particularly tight hamstrings. The instructor told us to send our breath into the places where there was pain to help get deeper into the stretches and feel things loosen & heal. As I’ve mentioned before, I consider yoga a spiritual practice particurarly because of the breathing. Both the Hebrew & Greek words for the Holy Spirit are the same as the word for breath – ruach in Hebrew & pneuma in Greek. Physiologically, when we breathe in, the air is warmed & purified and intended to give life and when we exhale we are sending out toxic carbon dioxide that is a byproduct of our body’s lung functions. When I do yoga & pilates, I pray as I breathe in that the Spirit would nourish me and give me strength and when I exhale I pray that She would remove from me the things that are toxic.

Spirit, you are here
Invade the places in me that are hard, closed off, tight, inflexible
Bring your healing breath and open, relax, make me available for your work in the world
As you heal me, form me more into the image of Christ

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