hands and feetLast week in yoga class, I learned something new about Jesus.

This is what I’ve found when I come again and again to my practice mat: in yoking my mind and body together through concentrating on my breathing and my movement, the God made known in Jesus shows up and teaches me.

Our bodies get used to routines. They assume the same position when we slide into our easy chairs; they have a particular pose they take when we fall asleep. I’ve noticed that my hands and feet, especially my fingers and toes, have routine positions they take as I bear my weight and take different poses in yoga class. Despite months, even years, of slipping, it didn’t occur to me until last week to change the way my hands and feet were arranged on my mat.

When I spent some time — truly, I spent several minutes concentrating on the muscles in my fingers and toes, stretching them out, placing them carefully and firmly with space in between them — focusing on my bodily foundation in my fingers and toes, I immediately noticed a significant difference in the same old poses I’d practiced hundreds of times before. Elongated fingers not only provided more contact points with the ground and therefore more stability, but the angle I’d used to gain more skin-to-ground contact changed the way weight pressed on my wrists, freeing them, and even traveled up my arms to bring my shoulders into greater alignment, providing comfort and strength as well.


The same thing happened with my feet. As I spread my toes and concentrated on shifting some of my weight out of my heels and more toward the balls of my feet, my leg muscles lit up, easily holding me steady, as if they’d been formed to work that way. With my toes stabilizing my stance, my spine felt longer and lighter; it seemed like I’d grown a full inch, just by paying attention to my little piggies.

Then the Holy Spirit’s lightning struck: how much time do I spend connecting my spiritual “skin” with the Rock of Ages? Do I concentrate on my grip, spreading out to make more contact with the Sure Foundation? If I did, wouldn’t I grow taller, enabling my spiritual muscles to work they way they’d been formed to do?

When we spend some time, truly, spend minutes — maybe even hours! — concentrating on the solid foundation we enjoy in Jesus Christ, then I suspect the rest of the world, with its frustrations and seeming impossibilities, will grow strangely dim.

About The Author

The Rev. Emily Hylden serves as vicar of St. Augustines’s Oak Cliff in Dallas.

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