If I would have thought that two years ago (or shoot six months ago) those three things had a connection and similar meaning to me... I'd probably have been on pain meds. Well, the truth of the matter is that yes, they do all have something in common, to me at least.
Downton Abbey. What is there to say... we have Lady Mary, Lord Grantham and a whole host of fun characters and gorgeous scenery, beautiful language and knock out clothing to admire. One thing that has always stood out to me while watching the show, has been the posture of the women. Yes, I realize they were wearing layers of clothes, nothing strechy existed and perhaps many were wearing corsets, but I mean they sat up straight! Women of that era had no choice. They had tougher lifestyles and to protect their back and wear their clothing properly, they simply sat up straight and stood with their shoulders down. When I watch the show, I am perpetually amazed at watching them sit. They do not touch the back of the chairs, they do not slouch and they are usually eating or drinking tea when sitting. They ate slowly. They sipped tea and enjoyed it.
What a silly revelation. But bear with me. I slouch. I adore yoga pants and big sweatshirts - especially living in Michigan in the wintertime. I tend to devour food too quickly and drink by the gulp. What if... I begin taking their lead on new standing, sitting, eating, drinking habits. What if, I had no elastic or stretch... hmmm, I bet I'd sit straighter up too. Posture mattered then for a myriad of reasons. Etiquette that we naturally do not see in our modern world, but a trait that I'd like to bring back.
Then... there is King David. The shepard boy. The anointed one after God's own heart. The same one who wrote the majority of the Psalms, became a great leader to Israel and still made some horrible mistakes - always came back to the posture of his heart before the Lord. Before he went to battle, he trusted that God would provide a victory and he relied on God. When he killed Goliath, even though he was already anointed as future king, he went back to the sheep. He did so happily, because he trusted the promise that God was far from over with him. He kept his heart focused on God and gauged his decisions on the posture of his heart, not from his emotions. (well, most of the time:). Even through stupid mistakes, he always came back to God, accepting his consequences and went back to work with ridding his heart of deceit or selfishiness. It was this beatiful and pure habit that God saw in him and anointed him to be a great leader.
Transitioning to Bikram Yoga? Really? Really.
First, this practce of yoga is similar to what you may be familiar with, however here are the major differences. The class is the same no matter where or when you take it. Nothing is added. No new moves are introduced and you always work on the same 26 poses. Now granted these poses are inside a room that is a toasty 105 degrees with about 40% humidity and it lasts for 90 minutes. Sounds awful and yet... I couldn't wait for my lumbar fusion from June to heal up enough for me to get started. Made no logical sense that I would try it. Still amazes me that I am falling in love with it. I shock my sons and husband going three times a week. And yet... every class is different. Every class I notice that if I don't pay attendtion to my posture, I will hurt my back or hip and be in trouble later. My posture is extremely important in that class. The habit that I am creating will help me sit more like Lady Mary. It will continue to strenghten my back muscles and hopefully help me in preventing any more future back surgeries. (Three was plenty!)
Now the funny thing here is that yes, I know it's a bit of a stretch to tie these three topics together but this is what God is doing with me now.
I have to work on retraining my brain to eat slower. I have to train my mind to think nice thoughts, which affect my spirit towards myself and others. I must press through the tired days, the feeling fat days and the "just don't wanna work out" days, in order to change the poor habit I have of slouching and retrain my brain to use my core muscles more.
You see, I desire to have the full life that Jesus promised me. And believe me when I tell you that our family has had drama. We've had four family members very ill.. Pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, heart problems and end stage copd. My nice thoughts evaporated after 4-5 weeks of super high stress. My posture started to royally suck because of hanging out in ICU for days on end. My exercise routine went out the window and dining out became an unwelcomed normal. Praise God, no one we loved died. Close... but miracles abounded... prayers answered... Not all are out of the woods yet, but much better than in recent days.
I need Christ. I need to remind myself of this simple fact every day. This body is His temple. If I treat it with short term fixes or think I can short cut anything, it all comes back to haunt me. I need friends to encourage me and keep me accountable to my self talk, my exercise routine and my eating. NO! I don't like being asked about these things. YES! I wish I could get away with more bad habits, but c'est la vie... I can not. So I allow myself to experience the fear of walking into a studio where folks are in very little clothing and have the body of a teeny bopper. I allow my BFF to inquire about anything with me. I ask God to forgive me daily and remind me of who He is, when I lose my way.
My heart posture is what matters most to God. Am I listening to His promptings? Am I obeying Him? Am I being a good witness, good wife, good mom, good steward of my body - His temple. Some days I am amazing at most of these. Some days I am horrible.
But I don't give up. Whatever you are working on, don't give up. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Check out 1 Samuel 16 - to read about King David if you haven't ever learned about him. Watch Downton Abbey. Fairly great television in a world of not a lot of great choices. And try Bikram Yoga aka hot yoga. Give it a few trys... youre worth it!