If I didn’t have an electronic calendar beeping at me each time I had an appointment, I’m not sure I could function. Work has ramped up, I’m volunteering, socializing, dog sitting, tying up loose ends and trying to get out of town on Tuesday. Life went from Covid zero to 60 MPH and my head is spinning! Does it seem that way to you too?
Christmas is just around the corner and I can’t seem to keep up. How did the year end get her so fast? The hustle and bustle of the season has caught up with me. As I type and reflect, I realize just how much I am in need of a rescuing from this present active life. O-O-Ohhh, the cry of my heart is to feel Christmas NOW and leave the cares of the world behind!
Cue the Christmas carols 24/7 on 101.1! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Sweet relief. There’s something about hearing those familiar tunes sung over and over, year after year, that help deliver me out of stress mode and into the Christmas Spirit. Smiling and singing along is my favorite! It’s the soul care I need to free me from the bondage of my intense schedule. O Little Town of Bethlehem.
A few years ago my dear teacher, Thomas Milburn, enlightened me to the ancient Christmas tradition of the seven “Great O’s”. Why did this resonate with me? Because it’s so true! Anytime my heart cries out, my exhaled utterances are typically the spoken O-“insert superlative”. Depending on the situation, the words coming out of my mouth can be offensive, supportive, heartfelt or praiseworthy. If I stub my toe you might here hear me say “O-DARN” or something less attractive.
The antiphons or the messianic titles for Jesus begin with “O” and are used in the octave (seven days) leading up to Christmas Eve, with a different one proclaimed each day. They are a short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm.
12/19: O-Lord (Adani)
12/20: O-Root of Jesse
12/21: O-Key of David
12/23: O-King of Nations
In a FROGpose yoga class we celebrate O-exhales. If there’s anything you have learned from me is the importance of the breath. Christian yoga is more about releasing tension with breath than it is about touching your toes and bulging biceps. If your neighbor can’t audibly hear the Breath of the Almighty giving you life, you’re not receiving all the health benefits that the practice has to offer you. Turning up your breath not only encourages your fellow Jogi’s but it increases the purifying heat in your body.
Sometimes a yoga pose is cued to encourage an audible O on the exhale. Horselips works too. Yoga is a great way to express the cry of the heart by incorporating physical poses with intentional breath. Lamenting is something we have a hard time expressing and practicing in the modern age of saving face, but to relieve the heart with breath prayer in class is welcomed. No judgement. We are all working out our salvation and God wants to hear the cry of our hearts, even in yoga class.
As you approach the mat in these next seven days, perhaps you can set your daily intention on one of the antiphons. With your deep exhalations, try singing out loud that particular title for Jesus throughout your practice. See what comes up and allow Jesus to physically rescue you from the bondage of your busyness.
This week’s class will be on Instagram only @frogposeyoga. See you Wednesday at noon as we celebrate Jesus O Dayspring.
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