Recently, I’ve come to realize the similarity between my yoga practice and my Mass attendance. On my mat, I flow. I become present to what I am doing. I listen to what the teacher is speaking, and I move. I connect with those around me. Yoga is called a moving meditation.
At Mass, I flow. I listen to the prayers and scripture being read. I sit, stand, and kneel when appropriate. I connect with others through song, prayer and the sign of peace. I am (mostly) attentive to the knowledge and experience the priest shares and I meditate on the readings.
In addition to the Catholic foundation of my faith, I have come to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of other religions.
For example, I love this description of God and the gifts He gives of Himself from the New Testament:
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
But I also love this description of God in the Bhagavad Gita:
“In pure water I am the sweet taste. In the sun and moon I am the radiance. In the very center of human beings, I live as virility and courage. I am the sacred word Om, which designates the Divine, and I am the sound of it heard throughout the universe. I am the slight, delicate scent, the sweet fragrance of the earth. I am the brilliance in both fire and sun. I am the light of Divinity in all beings. I am the subtle spirit in spiritual practices that gives them their existence – I am the love in the devotee, for example, or the austerity in the ascetic, or the sweet sense of charity in the giver.” Part II, Chapter 7
Written at different times and in different cultures, these sacred texts both describe the path to an eternal, everlasting God through love and devotion. I find more significance in the similarities than the differences. Reading passages like this one only serve to strengthen my faith.
Sometimes while I’m on my mat, I thank God for the beautiful morning He has given. Sometimes I pray that I’ll make it through a challenging practice, or a challenging day. While my time on my mat is important to my well-being, when I step off my mat I want to step into something bigger. I hope that by teaching and assisting yoga practices, I can be of service to others, which has been the emphasis of my faith in action for the past several years.