Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature.
Nouwen is speaking of the importance of solitude, but what he says I could also apply to the practice of yoga. Yoga helps us to extend grace to ourselves, because we learn our limitations and not to view these as deficiencies but rather acknowledge that it is how we are made. When we can accept and honor the limitations in ourselves, it then becomes possible to accept and honor the limitations of others.
We come with our wounds. We may have injuries or conditions or aches and pains that bring us to yoga in the hope of finding relief. It requires vulnerability to accept and work with the wounds we have, be they physical or emotional, but as we learn to love our bodies and what they are capable of doing, we find healing of attitudes that may be more limiting than the actual wounds are.
And finally, just as there are difficult situations in life, there are poses in yoga that challenge us. Yoga poses are a metaphor for life’s circumstances. Attempting challenging poses encourages us to move past fear of failure. Yoga coaxes us to try, in a safe space, something we may not have thought we could do. Practicing yoga helped me to be strong in the face of fear. I learned to not be frozen in place by fear, but to “breathe through the pose” and come out on the other side more confident than before.
In yoga, I find strength within me that I was not aware I possessed. What I learn on my yoga mat I am able to carry into the rest of my life. Being able to accept myself as I am and tapping into my inner courage to stick with that which is challenging have caused me to grow both spiritually and in my yoga practice.