I have been practicing Yoga on and off for about two years now. It is one of the most profound and spiritual experiences of my life, and I absolutely love it. For me it is a form of deeply spiritual prayer, and it allows me to experience God in a way that is different than other forms of prayer I choose to partake in. One of the many great benefits of Yoga for me is the fact that it allows me to get in tune with my body, its Creator, and the mystical relationship that exists between the two in the deepest recesses of my being.
Another very important form a prayer I enjoy is attending Mass. As I age and mature both emotionally, spiritually, and in my Christian faith, I appreciate Mass more and more, and in recent years have come to realize what a beautiful prayer the entire Holy Mass really is. From start to finish, we pray, and so Mass is filled with many individual prayers and many different forms of prayer. Extremely important to me is the realization that Mass, through all the individual prayers in a variety of forms, truly is one whole prayer that is much greater than the sum of its parts, and it produces wonderful spiritual fruits. And therein lies the beauty of the Holy Mass and the reason I love it so much.
The Holy Rosary is also a form of prayer I love and enjoy. Like Mass, the Rosary is made up of many individual prayers and different forms of prayer. The recitation of the prayers is accompanied by meditation on mysteries. While I sometimes pray the Rosary without mediation on the mysteries, it is meditation on the mysteries that transforms the Rosary from a simple recitation of prayers into a beautiful spiritual journey often leading me to unexpected destinations.
A few days ago the thought occurred to me to combine Yoga and the Rosary because I love them both so much, and they both involve meditation. As I began to ponder a “Yosary”, I came to the conclusion that trying to recite the Rosary, even silently, while practicing Yoga might not work very well. Being still and quiet are so crucial in Yoga, and I think the busyness of the Rosary would make Yoga less effective, which is the opposite effect I was trying to achieve. So then I began to consider the possibility of meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary while practicing Yoga. This was my aha moment! I realized that this would be the perfect way to combine Yoga and the Rosary. Thankfully I was correct!
The first time I prayed my “Yosary”, I was moved beyond what my limited mind and thinking had allowed me to consider. Meditating on the Glorious mysteries of the Rosary while practicing Yoga was a wonderful experience I will not soon forget. As I moved from one mystery to the next, not only did I feel a closeness with God and the Holy Trinity and Mary, but I also became aware of the ebb and flow of the five mysteries.
Jesus dies, descends to the dead, and then rises from the dead via his resurrection in the first mystery. He then stays on Earth for forty days before ascending to Heaven in the second mystery, the Ascension. Next, the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles in the third mystery, the descent of the Holy Spirit. The fourth mystery is Mary being taken up into Heaven in the Assumption. In the fifth and final glorious mystery, Mary is crowned queen of Heaven in the Coronation. So as I am ending my “Yosary”, I am keenly aware of the ebb and flow of the mysteries, and it is then that I recognize that the Glorious mysteries are essentially a Holy Roller Coaster, filled with ups and down, valleys and peaks, pain and sorrow, joy and glory, but ending ultimately in the ultimate victory in Heaven.
And so it is with life. I once mentioned to someone that life was such a roller coaster, and they suggested I get off that roller coaster. In a perfect world I could have I suppose. But my imperfect life is very much a roller coaster, some of it because of choices I have made, but much of it is simply because that is how life is sometimes. If we can come to understand and embrace our lives as they are, without denial and without fear, we can gather and develop tools that will not only help us survive the ups and downs, but will also help us to learn to enjoy the lows in the knowledge that they are always followed by another high. As someone recently pointed out: Easter always follows Good Friday. So let’s ride this coaster until we coast back to its origin where we can finally exit the Holy Roller Coaster and rest for eternity. Amen!