I said goodbye yesterday to a group of Catholic clergy I have been working with for 7 weeks. I teach a “Mind, Body, Spirit” Seminar for a clergy sabbatical program here in Tucson.
Essentially, I give them an ecumenical model for how yoga, meditation, and mindfulness “work” and then we spend the majority of our time engaged in gentle, relaxing, and prayerful practice.
As a closure, I asked them to tell me what stuck with them from the practice experience, what they would be taking away into their lives and ministries.
Here is a summary of their list for all of us to remember:
- Breath. How important it is to breathe consciously and to notice our breath holding patterns.
- Gentle Movements. How much can happen with simple, mindful movement.
- Simplicity. Stand against the wall for a few moments. Fold forward ½ way with your hands on a table top. Lie down and let your body open.
- Alignment. Notice how the body contracts and rounds and the difference you feel when you adjust and align more with gravity.
- Respect. Work with your body in this moment. There is no need to force, strain, or effort for something particular.
- Relax. Notice the way we rush, lurch, tense, grip as we are acting. Consciously relax within the effort and notice how that also affects your mind.
- Grace. In movement and in the whole experience.
- Space. It helps to have the right environment and we become the right environment- our body/mind state.
- Focus. The mind on the body, the body as a worthy focus for attention, prayer, communion, insight.
In truth- this isn’t their list exactly. That arose on the white, dry erase board and then was dissolved as we talked about yoga styles out there in the wider world. This list is what I remember and what I have embellished a bit. Yet, it’s the same and different every time I teach. What makes it different is the alchemy, the respect we have for ourselves and each other as we commune on this day. Goodbye Fall Sabbatical Group, it was lovely to share my yoga ministry with you these 7 weeks. God Bless us all.
If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. Aboriginal Activists Group, Queensland