As we enter autumn and winter, nature is turning inwards. There is a shedding of leaves and cooling of air. We are being drawn into contemplation and hibernation. We hear God’s voice call to us in this season in Psalm 25:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Resting can, for a lot of us, bring up feelings of anxiety. Stepping off the productivity train that modern life seems to demand of us may feel strange. It may bring on feelings of guilt, too. Yet, that is not the life God wants us to live. He is clear in His Word that we not only can rest, but that we should rest. And that in rest, we are not to fear. He is holding us – our dreams, our families, our income – in the palm of His hands. And we can trust Him to support us in these areas as we rest and rejuvenate our spirits.
Restorative yoga has much to teach us about this. Surrendering and relaxing into God’s presence is a beautiful way to honor our bodies and God’s desire for us to be rested.
Plan to spend some time on your own turning inwards and relaxing into God’s presence. A beautiful way to set this up is to find a room with low light (even no light and just several candles is perfect). Put on very gentle worship music should you wish. Use essential oils and a diffuser if you have those on hand, frankincense or lavender is a wonderful compliment to a restorative practice. Have your yoga mat, two fluffy blankets, blocks or stacks of books and several pillows on hand.
Start by simply sitting in a restful seated position. You can prop yourself up against a wall to be able to sit tall yet feel the support of the wall behind you. Spend several minutes here, palm facing upwards on your knees, laying all your fears and anxieties at the foot of the cross.
From here move into a gentle forward fold, stack your pillows and blankets over your legs – so that you can truly rest into the pose with minimum effort needed. Let your hands fall as they wish on either side. You can use your blocks or books to rest them on. Rest here for several minutes too. Rest your head on one cheek, and then the other.
Placing a pillow for support behind you, move into reclined butterfly pose. You may also want to place blocks or books under your knees to truly relax into the pose. Spend several minutes here, arms at your side, palms facing upwards, inviting God’s presence in and asking Him if there is anything He would like to share with you in this season of rest. Listen for the gentle voice.
Moving the pillow out from underneath you, bring your knees in towards your chest. Hugging them to your chest, very gently and slowly roll from side to side, giving your lower back a nurturing massage. Release your legs down and move into a final resting pose (savasana). Use pillows and blocks as needed for your body to truly rest here. Bring your blanket over you and wrap yourself up in the warmth of it. Let Jesus hold you here for several minutes, really leaning into His love and unconditional acceptance of you. After several minutes, roll onto your side and into a fetal position. When you’re ready, press yourself up into a comfortable seated position, thanking Jesus that you can trust Him enough to release and rest.
This is a powerful, deeply restful flow. We hope it encourages you to rest in this season, knowing God loves you deeply and is holding you dearly.