Yoga is hard. Seriously, it’s no joke! There are so many postures that look easy at first, but become surprisingly difficult once you’ve taken the time to make sure that your body is supported and in correct alignment. It’s amazing how, when you do something like yoga with mindfulness and intentionality, even the simplest poses can lead to incredible rewards.
One of the postures I absolutely hated in the beginning of my yoga journey was Downward-Facing Dog. I’d be going through the practice, barely surviving, and when the instructor would say “let’s return to Downward Dog” I would want to collapse. This move would cause my shoulders and legs to ache the next day as they weren’t used to be stretched in this way. But, over the past couple years, as I’ve practiced more, I’ve come to realize that this is indeed a resting posture, but it sure didn’t feel like it in the beginning!
What does it mean to rest?
I believe we have a rather glaring misconception of rest, maybe because we do it so poorly. Rest is something God clearly values and something he knows we need so why are we so terrible at it? What does “rest” mean to you? Does it mean binge-watching Netflix all day? Or is rest something reserved for the dead? What about resting while working? Is that even possible?
What I’ve come to learn about Downward-Facing Dog is that you can work from a place of rest. This posture is hard work, but that doesn’t disqualify it from being “restful”. In Downward Dog you have an opportunity to focus on your breath and let it return to the normal rhythm, but while you’re resting you’re still strengthening muscles, still stretching ligaments, but you’re not in a power pose. I think we can do the same thing in our work. I think that we can still work hard, but we can slow our breath and focus our intentionality to rest while working hard.
What would our world look like if we chose to operate from a place of rest instead of powering and striving through every action?
I’m terrible at resting. This weekend I didn’t want to work or write or do much of anything, my brain needed a break, something that I’m not always great at giving it. I’ve had some pretty busy days recently, but I’ve been a little more intentional with how I’ve gone about things than I have in the past. I took time to pray and work out each morning before going about my day; I’ve been intentionally centering myself and remembering to breathe and work from that place of ease instead of trying to muster myself into an action.
Today we’re all going back to work, back to the everyday grind, something that doesn’t often coincide with resting. But I encourage you to remember to breathe and pray and invite God into your cubicle or office with you. Remember the promises that he’s given us in his word and work as though they are true, because they are. Rest today in the confidence that what he has started he is faithful to accomplish.