Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Erica introduced a new yoga position to our class at ADBC a couple of weeks ago:  the modified fish. Initially, I thought the position rather uncomfortable. I focused on relaxing and breathing, while I hoped that Erica would quickly move on to another position. She did not.

Here is what the modified fish pose looks like:

(Click photo for CNN article on how yoga can alleviate smartphone slump.)
When Erica finally instructed us to slowly sit back upright, I was amazed at how open my chest and lungs felt and at how deeply I could breathe: "I feel like I just inhaled for the first time ever!"After that one pose, I felt remarkably more awake and energized.

This is now my new favorite yoga pose, people. Funny how a position that initially made me so uncomfortable ended up making me feel so much more alive!

Last week, a friend posted a meme on Facebook with this quote:  "It is not happiness that brings us gratitude. It is gratitude that brings us happiness." It is easy to think that when everything in my life falls neatly into place, when I am happy because no ill wind disturbs the surface of my life's little pond, then I can be grateful:  God, make me happy, because then I will be grateful!

But the quote on the meme says something very different:  gratitude comes first, before happiness. In fact, happiness flows from gratitude (rather than the other way around).

It is like gratitude is the modified fish pose that expands our hearts so that we can breathe happiness in deeply.

Sometimes, life is uncomfortable. Sometimes, God puts me in places and positions I don't like, and I think, "I sure hope God moves on to something else soon." But He does not.

Instead, He keeps me there until I (hopefully!) stop fighting against him, until I focus more on the good He has for me in a particular difficulty than on how uncomfortable I am. Until I learn to say "Thank you" - to express gratitude for a God who is more concerned about my holiness than about my immediate comfort.

And then, finally, He sets me back upright, and I find that I can breathe more deeply than before, that I am more alive, more alert, more expectant, and more content. More joyful. And, yes, happy.

"...it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude." - A.A. Milne

No comments: