Downward Facing Dog: Open Up the Ancient Doors
We all have walls, barricades, and ancient doors that have never been lifted for fear of what we’ll find. I have to admit, I am a very self-protective person, I struggle to trust people, or let anyone in. My walls are many, some are more layered then others, some are obvious, and some are like an invisible shield. I have prided myself in these walls of my own self-construction, how muscular they have become over the years, how powerful, and intimidating, but now I have been inside them for too long, watching the world connect from inside my makeshift cell. So, I began chipping away from the inside, like Andy in Shawshank Redemption, I hammered a little closer to my freedom.
In last week’s pose of the week, Downward Facing Dog, I talked about the realization that my body is a temple, a sacred tent where God comes and dwells. I confess that I have used God’s tent as a place to hide as well. As I plant my feet, root my hands, and lift my thighs to the sky, I lock the doors of this body down, careful not to open to anyone or anything. This week’s pose, Downward Facing Dog Splits, challenges me to trust and be vulnerable, to open the weighted doors of my fear, my rage, and my self-protection.
Lift up your heads, o gates, and be lifted up, o ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty. The Lord mighty in battle.-Psalm 24:7-8
With my hands rooted to the ground like tent pegs, I inhale, and slowly lift my right leg to the sky. I am intentional in opening. I know that this opening posture symbolizes my opening to God and to the world. I shake, I stumble, and I reach a little higher towards my freedom. I have learned that our bodies hold meaning, and that that meaning is meant to be transfigured for good. [TWEET THIS] When I practice yoga, I practice change, process, and transformation. I practice loving where there’s been hating, acceptance where there’s been judgement, and openness where there’s been distrust.
In Psalm 24:7, the Hebrew word for ancient is òwlam meaning perpetual, indefinite, and long time of past. How many of our ancient walls are generational? How many ancient doors have been locked shut, bolted, never to be opened again? The scripture speaks on this commitment to closure, and the freedom that come when we open up again. The hebrew word for door in this text is pathach, meaning to be thrown open, and let loose. Perhaps, the ancient doors of our past were never meant to lock us in to begin with, maybe they were an invitation for something more glorious then we could imagine. The word glory here is kabowd, meaning abundance, dignity, and reputation. When we choose to open the ancient doors of our past and release what has held us back, we open ourselves up to restoration and redemption that we were made for in God.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty- he is the King of glory.-Psalm 24:9-10