Monday, July 11, 2011

Everything is Spiritual ~ Church and Hot Yoga

Sunday was an incredibly spiritual day for me.  No, seriously.  I think I wrote in my very first blog post about spirituality and a sense of connectedness to everything, but I've pretty much stayed away from the subject otherwise.  I'm not sure why.  I guess I've worried about offending some or making myself feel exposed or vulnerable.  But, quite honestly, my belief is that everything is spiritual.  And, if that's true, then it's something that should come through in all you do, say, write.

I certainly didn't come up with the phrase or idea that everything is spiritual myself.  In our adult Sunday school class, we watched a DVD of a presentation (lecture? sermon? talk?) called "Everything is Spiritual" done by a guy named Rob Bell.  I've seen a few other videos he's done and his ideas and how he presents them really speak to me.

You know how you can have a certain belief or sense of some truth but can't exactly put it into words, and then someone puts that belief or truth so eloquently into words that you feel like they've just solidified it in your own mind in a way that it hadn't yet been solidified?

Yeah.  That's what happened to me.

I'm not going to go into the details of his presentation, because I'm not sure I even can.  But, the idea that everything is spiritual rang so true. That The Divine (or whatever you want to call it) is not just in a certain place, at a certain time, with a certain group of people.  Rather, The Divine can be found everywhere, at any time and in everything.  Notice that I said "can be found" everywhere and not "is" everywhere.  This was one of the things that really struck me.  He says somewhere near the end of the presentation that "what you look for, you will find".  I thought that was incredibly powerful and empowering in so many ways.  The idea that your intentions and the posturing of your own heart will guide you to your truth.  Whoa.  I'm going to try to remember that each day when I wake up.  What you look for, you will find.

Everyone has different things that feed their spirit/soul.  For a lot of you who are reading this that thing is running, or biking, or swimming, or yoga, or cooking, or any combination of these things.  These are things that fill us up, make us feel more ourselves, bring us closer to what we might feel is our purpose.  I'm grateful to have the belief that these things, these any day of the week, any place on earth, any hour of the day kinds of things can allow me to connect with The Divine.  Everything I do, every interaction I have with another, is an opportunity to connect with The Divine.

And then there was Hot Yoga...

I've been wanting to try this Hot Yoga class for a while now.  It actually didn't look like it was going to work out for me to go on Sunday night, but as fate would have it, I made it there.  As I was driving there I was thinking, "So what do you do when it's 99 degrees outside?  You go to Hot Yoga!!"  Yeah, it makes perfect sense.  As I walked through the doors of the classroom I was hit by a Wall of Hot.  I immediately started to wonder what I was getting myself into.  I had already joked to my husband about passing out during the class.  I started thinking it might not be much of a joke after all.

The class was crowded but I found myself a spot near the back of class, and right near one of the industrial looking heaters.  Oh boy.  The two people I had inserted myself between (they were having a lively conversation when I came in and squeezed between them) were immediately friendly and included me right away.  It was my first time in the class but I already felt like I belonged.  Very nice indeed ~ I was already sensing The Divine here.  I was also sensing that it was hotter than hades.  Really, I was getting a bit worried about this.  The heat was making me feel almost panicky, like I just wanted to get up and run out of there.  It's unnatural to want to hang out in an oven, right??  But, as I looked around the room, no one else seemed to share my concern, so I sucked it up and tried to embrace the heat.

As the class began I made sure to take it easy and guzzle as much water as I could.  The teacher mentioned that the room was unusually hot because of the outside temps and the windows that get evening sun, and that the room was probably at about 100 degrees or so.  She was really careful to ask us to take frequent water breaks.

And then I started sweating.  I mean really sweating.  And it.was.awesome.  I could feel myself melting right into the room, right into each position.  It didn't hurt that she played some great music too--a huge plus in my book.  At one point, after some great poses and a great song ("Pass It Around" by Donovan Frankenreiter, by the way), I turned to the guy to my left and quietly said "This kicks ass!".  He just laughed and nodded, as if to say "Yes, girl who's name I do not know, this does, indeed, kick ass."

I was amazed at what my body could do at these temperatures.  My hamstrings tend to be pretty tight, but by the end of the class when we were doing our seated forward folds I could put my stomach on my thighs.  That does not happen under normal conditions.  I think I kind of lifted my head up to see if anyone else was seeing what I was seeing--um, hello, my stomach is touching my thighs people!!  But, *strangely*, everyone else just seemed to be doing their own thing.

The instructor said a few things that also really struck me:

1. Humility.  She mentioned the importance of humility, and that this is often not something that's encouraged in our society.  She was talking about it in reference to only doing what you can in a pose--not pushing your body beyond what it's able to do right now.  But, it's an idea that I think can be carried over to many other realms.

2. Be present.  Be here.  She encouraged us to be fully present in each pose, to let the mind-clutter go if only for a moment.  This is something I struggle with in my daily life.  Being fully present for my kids.  I'll continue to remind myself to be more fully present for them.

3. To receive, you must first ask.  I loved this.  It's okay to ask for what you need.  And, what you look for, you will find.

One of my own truths is that the sure way to happiness is a grateful heart.  I was so grateful for a day that filled me up so fully.  It's now Monday night, and I'm still feeling the glow of my encounters with The Divine.  And I'll continue to seek out The Divine in everything I do, in every place I go and in everyone I meet.  What you look for, you will find.

I'm sure this is a touchy or too personal topic for some, but how do you experience The Divine? (or whatever you like to call it!)


  1. Best. Post. Ever!!! So a post that I should have you be a guest blogger for when my mom and I's new site grows...this is right up our alley for what our blog will be a life of intention, passion, and purpose! Love this! I experience the Divine through writing, being with my kids, RUNNING...mostly when I stop and be present in life and really just be still.

    I so want to try this hot yoga!!! Sounds wonderful.

    Very well written here Lisa! Very Share worthy. I need to remember to come back here and share this on twitter or facebook in the morning when people are actually up! :)

  2. Lisa this is an AMAZING read this morning. Kicking myself for not connecting with you earlier right now. I completely understand the desire to keep your own spirituality close to your heart and not broadcast your beliefs across the internet, this is a very intimate thing and can be difficult to be so open about.

    I love the reference to your spiritual being as "The Divine", vague yet represents something unique for all of us. For me I feel divinity in my life through running, nature, and oddly enough urbaness.

    Always have wanted to try hot yoga, but I've never made it a priority. Actually I used to be a major yogi up until this last year, and I am really missing these spiritual experiences in my life with the absence of regular yoga practice.

    Thank you for sharing something so personal, your words here are so powerful and inspiring. Just what I needed to read first thing in the morning.

  3. I experience the Divine when I catch the cool breeze when I'm driving with my windows rolled down. I experience the Divine when I am sitting down at dinner with my husband, grateful for good food to eat. I experience the Divine when I can just breathe deeply :)

  4. Good for you for sharing what is obviously very important to you. Spirituality comes in so many forms and its up to us to embrace individually.

    I have a topic or two that I'm a little hesitant about discussing as well. I think I will at some point, and will thank you now (and later) for paving the way for these sensitive topics.

  5. I LOVE those Rob Bell videos...he has such a way of presenting everything so simply that it is so much more powerful/meaningful.

    A lot of people think that to experience The Divine, you have to be in church. When you have the mindset like you described, it's easy to experience that in EVERYTHING that you're doing - running, cooking, even hot yoga ;)

    1 Corinthians 10:31 :)

  6. Lisa--this is a great post and I envy you that day! What a centered place you are in. Being injured for so long I can say that my "soul food" is missing and it makes me really sad. But I like the idea of keeping our eyes open-- so true. Great post!

  7. I love this post! "What you look for you, will find." I needed that reminder today. Thanks!

  8. i actually trained for my first 3 marathons when I lived in KC and I am just a freak that really does better with hills than flat running.

    I agree with you that yoga was a tough thing to pick up as a runner, but if you have the right teacher they do say those amazing things that just lift your spirits!

  9. What an awesome day!! I really love this post and that you shared your thoughts. I would love to do a hot yoga class ... will have to look out for one near me. I did comment on your comment, but if you could send me the info re aqua jogging that would be great. Thanks so much.

  10. I really like this post. I want hot yoga very much. I always make a moment for hot yoga for a healthy body. I always considering a comfortable capri workout pants for my yoga class.