Can a workout be worship?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A couple of years ago, I was in a yoga class when the instructor said, " . . . and, exhale. Let go of all the sh*t."

It startled me a bit. Not because such words have never crossed my lips. They have. And not because I didn't have . . . stuff . . . to let go of. I did. It startled me because I realized that while exercising, I was turning things over to God. And since God was in my head, I felt embarrassed about the language. I also felt sad for anyone in that room who did not have God in their head. We were all letting go of life's stress, anxiety, and worries. Was I the only one with someone to take it?

It wasn't long after that a friend told me about Holy Yoga. Then I learned about NMotion, and now my church has yoga. It took me a while to change my routine, to leave the traditional gym and try outright worshipful exercise. I still get a little squeamish telling some people about it. I don't want them to think I'm strange, that I can't exercise "normally," or that I think they are somehow less because they aren't into it. None of that is true. It's just that this is what has worked for me.

It is unexpected, because for so long I didn't let God into everything. God was in church, work was at work, and good gracious, exercise had absolutely nothing to do with thinking about Jesus. People who brought God into the mundane, daily activities of life were annoying to me. Now I'm one of them.

It's funny how that happens.

The thing I like about exercise is how it helps me clear my mind. When I attend Holy Yoga or an NMotion spin class, my clear mind can then focus on Jesus. Yes, a grocery list or sudden realization of who I need to call back still enters my thoughts. But the dim lights, the verse on the screen, and the music helps me move the lists and "to dos" away, and return to that clear, peaceful, Jesus-place. The workout leaves me physically, mentally and spiritually recharged - and that's surprised me as much as anyone.

So, yes. I think a workout can be worship.
What do you think?

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5 Responses to “Can a workout be worship?”

  1. I totally agree, I practice Bikram Yoga and its completely spiritual and then after I make it through the class I always pray, "thank you for the opportunity to do something for myself today and thank you for giving me the strength to not pass out or throw up from spending 90 minutes in 110 degree heat!"

    1. The few times that I've made it through a Bikram Yoga class, I have also thanked God for not passing out or throwing up :) That heat is intense!!
      Thanks for your comment - it made me laugh!

  2. I know for me, this is when I can completely 'go there with God' this is the time when I speak my deepest secrets to Him and He speaks to me (or when I am mowing the lawn or vaccuming~ha!) Yes, I do believe this to be the truth, in my life anyway a big fat AMEN!

    1. So true, Marlece. Jim and I often joke about how blowing leaves is good "zen" time for him.

  3. Love your blog!! Thanks for sharing!!