Advent devotions…

It’s that time of year again…we are in a state of preparation. As Christians this is a good time, this season of waiting and hope, to get our focus right. It can be hard to get and keep that focus of the coming of Christ! There are so many things to distract us.

You can help to set and keep the focus by downloading our new eBook, DoxaSoma: Daily Practice of Advent. Follow along with us each day, breathing and finding that focus.

You can get your copy by clicking below and begin your practice at any time!

Daily Practice of Advent

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Advent Reflections: Day Six

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

Ps 27:13-14

This is a season of waiting and that brings with it an air of expectancy. Because what we wait for is a joyous event it often feels difficult to stay in that expectant place. Often we find ourselves falling into anxiousness. We find all the reasons possible to speed the process of waiting. We choose the path of least resistance. We choose to be distracted by bright lights and the trappings of the consumeristic part of this season of the year. Waiting can be a way to build ourselves up, a way to test our steadfastness but it can also be an occasion for rest.

Our position today is called “Waiting” and on a physical level it hits those muscles in the back of the leg, thigh and deep into the gluteus that can only be stretched effectively by adopting the position and breathing into the stretch. This position is most effective when we take time with it, when we move through it, when we spend time doing nothing else but focusing on this overworked and under-appreciated muscle system.

Waiting

Begin with your legs in a “stacked” position, one foot in front of the other. Place hands on the mat before you and lift at the heart. Begin slow and deep breathing and as you feel the muscle release walk the hands forward, hinging at hips and lifting at the heart to engage the stretch again.

Waiting1

Once you have gone as far as you’re able with a flat lower back you may contract at the abdominals and fold at the waist, forehead toward the mat. You should feel the stretch change to your lower back. This should be a restful position. When you have taken a few good breaths here walk your hands back up til you are upright, switch your legs so that the other foot is now in front and repeat this position.

Breathe here and contemplate this time of “waiting.” What is it specifically that you feel you are waiting for? Can you find a way to anchor yourself in this?

Advent Reflections: Day three

Remember, no matter where you begin during this Advent season to start with Prayer and then move into Prayer Breathing, keeping in mind your anchor, whether it is an image, a word or a verse, choose something that can bring you back to your focus for this season of waiting and hope!

Throughout this time I will follow as closely as possible readings from the Liturgical Calendar. The positions I choose I hope will complement one another. By the end of this group of 24 daily readings and positions you should be able to string them all together one after another into flowing movement. Be sure that you feel confident with each individual position before you move from one to another. Please feel free to comment if you need more direction. I’m glad to answer anything!

Our reading for today comes from the book of Isaiah, chapter 11.

On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.

The position we’ll do as we consider this verse is called, “Wisdom.” It’s an excellent stretch for the hamstrings in particular. For most of us, we wander around all day long not giving a whole lot of thought to our hamstrings but they are essential to our mobility. The hamstrings can be very tight when we first pay attention to them and try to breathe a stretch into them. Think of your hamstrings as you ponder this verse, these hard-working and sometimes stubborn muscles.

WisdomSeated 0910

From a sitting position place your hands flat on the mat, legs straight out in front, feet pointing upward and then lift at the heart. This should engage the hamstrings. As you feel the muscles release hinge your body forward to re-engage the stretch and breathe into the stretch.

As you sit in this position and breathe the verse above, be thinking about what it is in your life during this Advent season that mirrors this hard-working and sometimes stubborn muscle group. What needs to have new life breathed into it?

Advent Reflections: Days One and Two

Hello dear ones!

I’ve been asked if I could do a daily Advent series for DoxaSoma, something you could follow as we move toward Christmas.

I think this is a great thought and I’m glad to put this together for anyone who’d like to follow along over the next 20ish or so days.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays.” This means that our Advent season began on Sunday December 1st. We will start this week’s worth of movements and reflections today then with 2 positions:

Prayer and Prayer Breathing

The two positions work together of course, during our practice we most often dovetail from one to the other. Prayer is how we begin and it is how we end. The movement of Prayer breathing is representative of our “circular breathing.” In this way we remind ourselves to inhale as deeply as we exhale, to calm our disquieted spirits, to relish moments of reflection. Prayer Breathing reminds us, too, that as with all things we move according to a season, according to a cycle.

For Prayer position, press palms together, feeling the contact near the wrists, the sides of your hands, the fingertips.

As you move into Prayer Breathing inhale as you bring hands from your heart,to your lips, to your forehead, and up to praise as you exhale, circling the arms around until find yourself back at Prayer and back at the heart. Lift at the heart and then begin your cycle of breathing again. Do this several times.

Begin this week considering what is beginning in this season even as you consider what you are leaving behind. Consider what you are moving toward this Advent season, this time of waiting in hope. What roots you in this season of Advent? Is it a word? An image? A song?

Choose something this week to use as an anchoring for your practice this month. Choose something so that no matter where you are or how overwhelmed you may feel you can connect to this feeling of focus, this waiting in hope. Choose something that reminds you,  like pressing your palms together in Prayer Breathing reminds you that you are more than ribbons and gift buying and cookie baking and tree decorating and travel.

As you breathe through this week, be mindful of the verse that accompanies this position. Breathe the words and know that they are for you. Find yourself in this place, rooted here:

“In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10

Prayer BreathingPrayer2Prayer3Prayer4

 

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