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  • Luke Dowding

Sacred Stretching

Perhaps, like me, you’ve taken to new hobbies and interests during the Covid-19 lockdown to both explore new forms of entertainment/activity/exercise, but also as a way to remain grounded during a time that has had the ability to be truly destabilising.

Again, perhaps like me, you have found the world of yoga through YouTube or online classes with instructors. I feel like I was a little late to the party, however two weeks into the lockdown here in the UK I had begun my first thirty days of “Yoga with Adriene”.

I think I’ve always considered myself to be a “person of faith” – I grew up attending the local Baptist church and then subsequently even trained for ministry, but my spirituality has always been the first to be parked, usually to that ever-present master: practicality. Whilst I cannot remember a time in which I didn’t believe in something bigger than myself, this idea of a “Divinity”, I’ve often struggled with what my own personal spirituality actually looks like.

A lot of work is routed in social justice – championing change for marginalised groups and attempting to seek sustainability in my life for the sake of the planet and future generations, and it’s always been difficult to make time for myself and to seek opportunities to commune with the something that exists beyond the need for immediate action.

Might you have felt similar? That the personal time to “fill your own cup” is side-lined so that you can continue to “fill up the cup of others”?

It is a source of both deep joy but also profound disappointment that it is not in format of church or conventional Christian community that I have finally been enabled to seek that space and time for myself, but through yoga. Joyful because I have found a practice that prompts me to stop, reflect, and look after my body, yet disappointed because I had always presumed there was bound to be something that I’d eventually connect with spiritually in my Christian faith.

Clearly the two aren’t mutually exclusive – through practicing yoga over the past two months and curating time for myself, I have been amazed at the connection I’ve then felt to the Divine which I understand and connect to through the lens of Christianity. My yoga and meditation practice has opened doors to begin understanding my faith in a whole new way, and perhaps allowed me to meet my spirituality for the first time.


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