A hidden reality of helping women in fitness, is the response and support of their husbands or significant other (Aka "old man"). I have yet to help a woman achieve significant changes to her body without her experiencing some turbulence in her relationship. Most of the time, this situation is resolved with a few mature conversations helping the husband or "old man" accept that his woman is now "hot" and will indefinitely be receiving extra looks and some unsolicited attention from other men. The woman typically reassures him of her faithfulness and eventually appeases his insecurity. Case closed and they live happily ever after with hot new wifey (and if she's lucky, he decides to join her at the gym so she doesn't spend their 401K with another man due to husbands premature death attributed to hypokinetic chronic disease!). Unfortunately, sometimes a metamorphasized woman becomes destructive with her new prowess-powers (think of a Pink Incredible Hulkette seductive homewrecker on steroids). 

My experience in conservative Indiana is most Christian women who regularly exercise their faith don't fall like this. Intuitively, an evolving woman understands that becoming her healthier, fitter and typically better looking self will glorify God, especially when free of the vanity idol. Sadly, I've seen too many Christian husbands struggle with the idea of their wife receiving looks from other men. Hurting and handicapping other from evolving is not Gods plan which is why I'm sharing these reasons Christian Husbands Should Help Their Wives In AND Out of Yoga Pants...and into yoga class!

 

1. You like how she looks in AND out of yoga pants. Yes, another man might catch a glance too but doesn't know or appreciate her assets like you do! The truth is, your wife is likely a modest dresser and isn't looking to draw this type of attention to herself. The rest of the truth is that most men at the gym and in yoga class are more interested in looking at themselves instead of a momma trying to get in shape. Their nanosecond imaginative look at your wife in yoga pants doesn't have time to get her out of the pants because they need to make sure they are posing, grunting  breathing or sweating properly. If only Adam was watching his wife strolling around that forbidden tree... This really does put you in a dilemma now doesn't it Christian husband? If you really understood grace, you wouldn't have an issue and would trust your wife's judgement on the yoga pants thing. God trusts you and grants you grace when you mess up...shouldn't you do the same with her? Help her into those yoga pants!

2. Christian Women Should Work It!  (See my post: Why Christian Women Should Work It) Work it does NOT mean riske wardrobe, table dancing on Friday night or general floozie. It means she's "got it!" Size doesn't matter on this one, we all know when a woman "has it" and many-a-sized woman has it! Yes, Christian husband, you know your wife has it but does she realize she has it? Yes, I understand that you know that other men know she has it too and you're trying to keep the cat in the bag. The truth is she could be SO MUCH MORE!!!Encouraging her to wear to those yoga pants and get to that yoga class will help her become more comfortable in her body and in using her body. Better yet, you are the first in line for the ALL THAT MORE which will lend you many more opportunities to help her OUT of those yoga pants.

3. Community. Women are supportive of each other and thrive in groups. Typically, a yoga class is predominately and sometimes exclusively women who form wonderful sisterly relationships, especially within the YOGATHEA® Christian Yoga + Meditation Classes. The health benefits of yoga and meditation are undeniable and benefit the individuals and their communities. We will send her home properly encouraged, listening to her laments along the way. This community and her yoga pants will energize you to help her in AND out of those yoga pants...whichever your prefer!

Christianity Today's Her Menuetics ran a popular web article last week: To The Christian Men and Women Debating Yoga Pants. Having worn yoga pants on a near daily basis since the last millennium, way before yoga pants were popular, I had to laugh. Reverends, Women, Bishops, and people with P.h.D behind their name were actually discussing this on a forum! Unable to control my snark, I suggested that Christian men wear yoga pants for more accountability in this area. I actually had a gentleman, and new blogger friend, Tim Fall, agree with me (more on Tim later).

 

 

Being a Christian Yoga Instructor and long time fitness professional, I'm obviously biased on this issue. That said, I do consider yoga pants a very important topic of Christian conversation. Discussing women in yoga pants certainly adds to our Christian body of knowledge and grows our love to change the world; therefore, I share these reasons why Christian women SHOULD wear yoga pants:

 

1. Yoga Pants Make Better Moms

 

Raising 4 young children as a stay-at-home mom and part-time fitness instructor, yoga pants proved to be my daily armor in those tumultuous times (or decade to be more accurate). Spandex is a great fabric to brush off the dried grimy hand prints that seemed to appear at thigh level. At the end of the day, being a workoutaholic, I was typically covered in dried sweat from my morning workout, tired and worn down from toddler tantrums but at least I could manage because of yoga pants. This Tim validates my point here, drum roll please....

 

2. Yoga Pants Equal a Better Probability of Actual Exercise

 

For years I have told my class that the hardest part of working out is showing up.Most people are very self conscious and self critical of their workouts and negative-talk themselves out of participating in an activity (exercise) that enhances their own health! Though many a woman wears yoga pants without ever having done yoga, if the yoga pants are actually donned that morning, the chances ARE better to actually make the workout!

In the United States, the leading causes of death today are lifestyle related, or lack of adequate diet and exercise, and 7 out of 10 Americans die of preventable chronic disease (1). Sometimes the easiest cure is the most difficult.

 

 

3. Yoga Pants Develop Assets

 

After years (39+ and holding to be exact) of hearing the gospel from a male dominated pulpit, I heard a woman preach to a church full of men and women. Yes, I have heard strong, wonderful women preach, but until last week, this was only to women. Patriarchy is a sin that continues to haunt the church and prevents its growth (See Tim Fall's Blog "Patriarchy--When False Doctrine Runs Amok"). The Bible is peppered with amazing women who decided to take on a role outside of the home and do some amazing things. The Bible is also missing the names of other women who certainly contributed as the Chronicles accredited Deborah's victory to Barak. Other women are just forever forgotten... As I work to train Christian Yoga Instructors and hold Christian Yoga Retreats, I'm wearing yoga pants more frequently than ever and they seem to be developing assets for my business partners and I.

My Law Professor colleague and friend told me about a State Legislator in Montana who submitted legislation that yoga pants be considered indecent exposure. I laughed again because who is going to enforce that? How would the friendly police officer approach the woman without her feeling sexually harassed? How would the respectful male police officer maintain his purity if he's require to monitor women's backsides. If a case actually went to court, how would the court decide what is too tight or thin? This is all starting to sound like Sharia Law to me because Burkas and Hijabs would take care of this entire issue...but so would men wearing yoga pants which is yet another reason why Christian women SHOULD wear yoga pants!

Note to Readers: For the record, in case your blood is boiling about the all important yoga pants issue in the Christian community, please know that I don't wear yoga pants to church and have a variety of longer tunics to cover my assets in the gym as well.

(1) U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, Disease Prevention, http://surgeongeneral.gov/publichealthpriorities.html#disease, downloaded June 5, 2009.

With four children, a job, business, husband, house and plethora of roles, I am a plagued with "have-to-syndrome".  Despite the "have to" syndrome, I am fortunately able to juggle my responsibilities and activities through my Christian Yoga and Meditation practice.

My daughter was blessed with three brothers and is in desperate need of organized female comaraderie, so when her Brownie Troop leader quit and the moms were willing to share the responsibility, I naturally felt I "have to" help.  The meetings involve some prep time and often include a lot of prepubescent silliness which compels me to "have to" settle them down and redirect their attention.  With much budding testosterone in my home, I  "have to" settle kids down on a daily if not hourly basis.  Around the house I "have to" cook dinner, clean the kitchen and make progress on the never ending laundry.  I "have to" spend time with my family and get sufficient sleep.  I "have to" get up at 5:15 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays to teach that 6:30 AM Yoga class.  I "have to" write my blog, though note there wasn't Wednesday Morning Mantra Manna last week because I was in "have to" mode fixing mywebsite that crashed! The most dangerous "have to"s in my life are more elusive:  I "have to" succeed, I "have to" win, I "have to" be [insert something impossible and  irrational, analogous to perfect].

My "Have-to" syndrome can lead to the inability to prioritize the "have to"s and somehow I am simultaneously going in multiple directions which inevitably leads nowhere at all!  The cure is solitude.  Solitude requires space to do absolutely nothing.  Solitude isn't as effective in my own environment as it is elsewhere because there is always something I "have to" on my turf.  If Jesus needed 40 days away in desert, I at least need a few hours or days every once in a while right?  Following God's example in Genesis, if I should allot one-seventh of life without "have to"...wouldn't life be wonderful!   "Have to" takes on many forms, even noble and sacred.  Solitude does not include "have to," which can initially seem wasteful, boring or terrifying altogether.  At it's core, solitude opens up the soul.  Solitude has yielded the stillness needed to settle muddied waters in my "have to" plagued life--I see more clearly.  I know, and may you know by taking some space and moments to do absolutely nothing in solitude. 

Once in church I was listening to a story of how a huge bald man wearing only his Speedo, running  shoes and iPod jogged past the secluded forest worship service this young minister was leading during his summer evangelism efforts in the Ukraine  (before the Ukraine became unstable).  I couldn't help but think despite how interesting and inviting a forest worship service in the Ukraine sounded, I would prefer to be the dude in the Speedo jogging freely in God's creation.  I think Jesus would prefer jogging in the Speedo too, after all he did do crazy stunts like walking on water and hanging out alone in the desert with the devil.  Jesus spent most of his ministry outside of the traditional temple setting and practices.  Everyday of Jesus ministry was unpredictable and well, risky.  Jesus has the Feds on his back.

It's not that I don't appreciate new ideology or moral encouragement shared in church meetings and of course the esprit de corps of song is moving--just not as moving as running on a secluded Ukrainian forest trail in a Speedo.  Running in a speedo is much more out of the ordinary, perhaps the worship devotional would have been out of the ordinary for the huge Ukranian man.  I believe Jesus wants us to try the extraordinary to build our faith, once we have overcome our greatest obstacle, everything else is downhill, right?  At least until the next obstacle arises.   

It seems to me that walking on water attempts and dangerous ship rides were extraordinary efforts of the apostles and hallmark faith building events for them as well.  We remember with great detail times of risk: air gliding, Polar Bear Plunges, Mud Runs, trying yoga. 

I don't own a Speedo or the female triathlon equivalent.  I gave up running years ago though do occasionally jog for a convenient workout on vacation. Perhaps the next time I'm on vacation I will take that jog in the forest in my Speedo equivalent of sports bra and yoga shorts.  I hope I'm as comfortable as the Ukrainian dude, running past a group of young adults singing Christian hymns.     In efforts to grow your faith, I encourage you to try something outrageous, though make sure to keep the Feds off your back while on that road less traveled.

Babies spontaneously perform all sorts of  yoga poses without reserve or contraction.  As babies mature and acquire shame, the posing becomes less.  Starting a yoga practice takes humility.  Humility lightens the weight of shame.  Humility feels better than shame...a lot better than shame!   I can breathe and move and be flexible in humility.  I too have humiliating moments as a yoga instructor.  Fortunately, these moments have lightened my shame of being seen and freed me to be unconcerned about what side is up in down dog.  I hope my "Top 10 List" will make you laugh and more importantly embolden you to lighten up, take a risk and show up to a yoga class sometime.

 

 The Top 10 Humility Inspiring Moments as a Yoga Instructor

 

10.    Wearing my yoga pants to class inside out. 

That white diamond shaped lining in the seat of my yoga pants is suppose to be on the inside.  Must have been tired getting dressed that morning. 

 

9.  Faucet Nose

Starting the Sun Salutations at 6:30AM, my nose begins to leak like a faucet in forward fold.  The angle changes to down dog and more streaming.  At plank, I'm amazed that my nose can do this because there is literally a tablespoon of thin fluid on my mat.  Note to self:  Don't do yoga right after using the Netty Pot.

 

8.   Relaxing every muscle...I'm always hoping these will be silent and unoffensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Enough said...

6.   Happy Baby Pose.  If only we looked this cute!

5.   Wedgies in spandex!  I've had many and I'm not posting a picture.

 

4.  Titillation.  I wear padded sports bras now and always recommend two because gravity belongs in the same category as death and taxes.  

 

3.  Teaching yoga pregnant

I taught yoga throughout my four pregnancies.  Ironically my classes had a noticeable spike in attendance each time.  I'm guessing people didn't feel so vulnerable following along with the pregnant instructor.

2.  Face plant in Bird Pose.  That's what you get for having an ego.  For the record, I'm now working on hand stand poses and haven't fallen yet...

1.  Leaking Milk

After class, a woman asks me if I am nursing my new baby.  I proudly reply, "yes, I am."  She nicely says, "I can tell." and points to my soiled tank.  Wonder how long I was teaching with that wet spot there anyway??

See you in class soon, hopefully with my pants on correctly and body fluids under control!  Remember, you don't have to be perfect, you just have to show up!!