“Yoga and I reconnected again a few years later, this time over being heart broken by disappointment and a deep feeling of failure when the career path I’d chosen was making me miserable. I faithfully went to church, read all the books, and filled journals with my longing cry for God to open a new career door, and tell me who I was and what I was meant to do with my life. All I heard was a lot of silence. That is, until I hit my mat.”Caroline Williams
Practicing Yoga & Meditation
I desperately wanted yoga teacher extraordinaire, Caroline Williams, to come on the show, so I asked.
I risked a “No,” and instead received a “Yes!”
My deepest desire was to have Caroline introduce and share her wisdom on how those of us who follow Jesus can practice yoga without shame and hiddenness.
Having danced my whole life, movement means a lot to me. I have to move. I just have to. But when I broke my back (1998) and transitioned from Janell the Dancer/Dance Studio Owner to Janell the (question mark), I had to find new, softer and gentler, ways to express the movement that lies in my DNA.
Yoga and the yoga studio became a lifeline in two very significant ways. I tenderly offer these peeks into my heart’s journey. I suspect we may have to agree to disagree, but here’s a peek into my soul’s transformative healing journey:
- It was a space and place that was quiet and peaceful. Really, really quiet and really, really peaceful. I didn’t have to talk unless I wanted to. It was serene and tranquil–unlike any other place in my life at that time, including the church. The church was loud, busy, hectic at times, filled with expectations, and often increased my levels of performance anxiety. This may or may not have been self-induced, but that is how I “felt.” It was an environment that seemed to subtly demand, “more, more, more,” when I had “less, less, less.” In many ways, I “hid” inside the yoga studio. My yoga mat became a holy place of contemplation and meditation. God felt very near and I heard his whispers of love and grace and truth.
- It helped me re-connect to myself. In therapeutic words, it was on my yoga mat that I began to “earn secure attachment.” Labels fell off. Demands calmed down. False narratives reconciled. Truth emerged. Parts of me that were detached began to attach to God in the deepest, most beautiful ways. Shaming language shifted to gracing language. Here are a few extra resources on “earning secure attachment” if you need to know more:
Becoming Stronger by Practicing Yoga & Meditation
When my neighborhood yoga studio closed and then the global pandemic hit, I had to turn to online yoga resources and that is when I found Caroline Williams and The Abbey, an “at-home yoga sanctuary of peace, presence, and belonging for the lover of God who is aching to feel whole.”
Caroline’s gentle, soft voice was the nurture my soul longed for. Her meditations invited my heightened sympathetic nervous system to find its way to newfound calm and I began to actually live from my parasympathetic nervous system. Win-win.
I hope and pray that our conversation invites you to consider implementing some aspect of mindful movement and meditation into your daily routine. Take it slow. Remember, the pace and tempo of transformation are typically slow and steady.