I haven’t practiced yoga since I sprained my ankle nearly six weeks ago (with the exception of a gentle flow I did in Kommetjie while Tony was surfing). My ankle joint is still sore, especially when I inwardly bend it or point my toe. But Tony and I moved into our new flat yesterday, and I no longer have the space excuse on my side—namely, “I don’t have anywhere to practice.”
Now, I have the perfect little spot in our one-bedroomed mountainside cottage. So this afternoon, I shut off my email and rolled out my mat. Here’s what God said to me in those 75 minutes:
1. You’ve got a heavy heart.
The Holy Spirit often communicates to me through physical feelings and pictures. I was flowing through the backend of a "Son Salutation" and took a deep breath in. “Yew,” I thought. “My chest is tight!” I took in deeper breaths to loosen the cavity. My girl, you have a heavy heart. I moved my shoulders back and down to make space.
2. Your heart is heavy because of your weighty shoulders.
As I adjusted my shoulders, they felt heavy too. I breathed deeper, pulling my head up and my shoulder blades down. Space. Your heart is heavy because of your weighty shoulders. Remember, My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. I breathed some more. More space, growth felt. Jesus isn’t heavy, but the world is. Rebuke the weight of society, culture, man—like, now.
3. Healing comes with movement.
I fumbled along on my bum ankle. Despite the fear, keep moving. Push into the new space. Your ankle isn’t going to get better through inactivity. Healing comes with movement. After six weeks of inactivity and becoming fearful about putting pressure on my foot, I certainly didn’t push into newfound asana territory, but I was able to stretch my ankle and realize some things about myself and my relationship with God. And at the end of the day, it just felt right to move.
Here's the thing: I think we often fall into this pattern. We take on the weight of the world by agreeing with it. We inadvertently say, “OK, world, I’ll do this your way.” Then we get weighed down, because the world is flipping heavy! We’ve all felt the pressure, the stress, the anxiety, the fear, the exhaustion, the competition, the expectations, and so on. And sometimes, we get so weighed down that we get stuck.
But Jesus says to move. And we think, “What? How? How on earth am I going to do that thing You’re telling me to do?” (In my experience, people’s refusal to move is typically due to: 1. financial fear/stress, 2. cultural expectations, or 3. another person’s expectations.) In my most recent case, I blamed my inactivity on my physical condition, all the while knowing that I was more than capable of doing breath work, meditating, or sitting in a straddle or pike position and doing some very basic stretches.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In biblical times, a yoke was used to tie a young ox to an older, wiser ox. Although the young ox carried no weight of the plow, it learned how to pace by being yoked to its trainer. That’s what Jesus was talking about here—yoking ourselves to Him in order to learn how to do life according to the Kingdom. Yoke then walk… movement.
This is the Message translation of Matthew 11:28-30: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Let’s throw off the weight of the world and say “yes” to Jesus. Has He given you instruction for movement? Then friend, start moving. Not sure what He’s saying? Well, I’ve heard this piece of advice from two people in the last week: Recall the last thing He told you to do, and do that. Space, growth, and healing are sure to follow.