Stretching Your Spiritual Muscles

Gabriele Replogle

It’s now the official New Year everywhere, so if you missed your chance in January, the year of the Hog and the Lunar New Year allows you another chance to re-evaluate your life.  If you’re like me, you needed this extra month to get the courage to do something/anything, because the holiday season was just too exhausting to put the effort into even thinking about your intention for the next season of life.

Two days ago, I put the library’s yoga video in, got out my old trusty (barely used) yoga mat and tried to shoo as many kids as possible out of the room.   If I go anywhere close to the floor they see it as an invitation to tackle me. I like yoga. I like it because it makes me do moves I would NEVER and I mean NEVER want to do. Stretch, me? No thanks. Yet as I submit my body to (trying) to do what the overly muscled and tanned body does on the screen, my body starts to thank me.

Tension releases in my shoulders.  My breathing capacity increases. My arms and legs seem to find their proper place again.  Mothering is a physical job- lifting into high chairs, car seats, diaper changes, holding a baby on the hip– it takes it out of a person.  Yoga is thanking my body (and my brain) and telling myself– take time for YOUR needs. Your real in-the-body needs.

I also have found I like Latin Dance.  I’m not a ballet sort of girl, (graceful is not my nature), but somehow twisting and that 1,2,3 rhythm I can do.  Now if you told me, “Do some sit ups.”, I’d tell you NO THANKS. Even if you said, “Work out for 30 min.” or, “Here get your heart rate up by running!”– I’d say “My knees hate you and that’s boring!”.  But not so with salsa. There I can move and and even (gasp) exercise for longer than 10 min, because it’s fun (for me)… and rediscovering I might still have Abdominal muscles after having 4 kids is just BONUS.

Part of the trick in getting active is finding something you love. Then it’s not a chore, but a delight.  Often we realize that we need to exercise our spiritual muscles too, but haven’t found a way that actually works well for us – our personality and life stage.

We have two upcoming opportunities in the life of our church to engage our spiritual core.

First, during Lent, we will have daily readings that dive deeper into our daily spirituality.

Second, on April 12/13th we’ll be having the next women’s retreat: Pathways to His Presence.

So, save the date!

We’ll be discovering and practicing different ways of following after Jesus.  Sometimes in the past this was called “practicing spiritual disciplines” to me- that’s like saying GO EXERCISE for your HEALTH. You can, however, also see it as finding your spiritual path. And let’s be honest, that sounds a little more enticing. The point is.. You are different than ME. You might despise yoga and think treadmills are THE BOMB DIGGIDY. Or, your body thanks you for swimming laps (and getting chlorine in your ears).  But the point is that our body was made for movement. It’s the same with our spirituality. We were made to connect with God.

This takes practice.  And sometimes that practice is a little hard at first, or a little— intimidating even. Trying a NEW thing.  But then sometimes, we find our groove, and we grow our spirituality in a way that we needed. Like yoga, we submit to something and our body thanks us. Trying new things spiritually can refresh our souls in ways we didn’t even know we needed.   Plus, sometimes it’s just plain FUN.

I hope you will engage with us through the daily devotional content that will be released on the Commonway blog between March 6 – April 20th. Also, if you are a woman and would like more information about the women’s retreat, please contact Cindy Davis at

Gabriele Replogle

Gabriele Replogle is a native Illinoisian mother of four children, six and under and often found irritable at the dinner hour. She is a wife to a free spirited, bike-riding, bearded man. She can be found most days in pajamas and a bathrobe at home changing diapers and changing the world…but mostly: changing diapers.

Gabriele Replogle

Gabriele Replogle

Gabriele Replogle is a frequent contributor to our Commonway blog. She loves to sing, dance, & write in defiance of death and darkness. More of her musings can be found at her website: