A few months ago, my daughter invited me to take a hot yoga class with her at the gym. I have to admit that I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought before I said yes and joined in.
When I arrived, my daughter told me to take off my shoes and I followed her into this new experience. She had already rolled out her mat and towel, and she quickly rolled one out for me. I felt a little self-conscious since we were in the middle of the room. I would have preferred being in the corner of the room closer to the wall.
I was glad there were a few other men in the class. We were clearly the minority as most of my “classmates” (not sure what you are supposed to call them) were women.
To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. However, since my daughter had invited me I wanted to make a good showing. I wanted to try everything and give it my best shot.
I won’t give you a play by play of my experience. I will say that it was both challenging and energizing. I sweat a lot (I did mention it was hot yoga). But I pushed myself and I did my best. When it was all over, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I did it.
Not sure I will do it much again. (Although I did go back one more time with my wife and daughter since then.)
So — now for some simple lessons on making disciples reinforced from my hot yoga experience.
Hot Yoga and Discipleship
1. Discipleship is a community experience. A lot of people view making disciples as a one-on-one relationship. But as I read the New Testament, most of the time Jesus was spending time with groups of disciples – not individual disciples. Certainly I learned what to do in the yoga class by following the instructor. Yet I also learned much from watching and observing what the others in the class were doing. In fact, the instructor often pointed to what someone had done as an example to follow. Disciplemaking happens best in community where you can watch and learn from multiple examples as you follow Jesus.
2. Discipleship isn’t easy. Now don’t laugh, but this hot yoga class was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done at the gym. It required focus and determination. I was stretched in ways that I’ve never been stretched before (literally). And I sweat from the extra effort required. Following Jesus is similar in that it requires focus, determination and total effort. It isn’t easy – but it’s worth it.
3. Discipleship requires following. In my hot yoga class, I couldn’t just do whatever I wanted to do. I had to follow the instructor. In discipleship we have to follow Jesus. In fact, core to the discipleship process is obeying all that Jesus commanded. We do what He says. That’s what discipleship is all about – obeying Jesus.
4. Discipleship starts with someone who is not yet a disciple. I didn’t know anything about yoga before I took the class. I had once watched the end of a yoga class while waiting for my wife so we could leave the gym. But I had no clue what was going on in there. As my daughter invited me to that first class I was starting fresh. And disciplemaking often starts that way. It begins with someone who is not yet following Jesus. When Jesus gave the Great Commission He did not send His disciples to start discipling those who were already following Him. He sent them to start discipling those who were not yet following. Disciplemaking actually begins with non-Christians.
5. Discipleship is not simply for yourself – but also for others around you. After taking the hot yoga class a couple times – I could really understand the benefits of hot yoga. (And I know I said I’m not sure I’d go again, I actually think I might.) It was a good and healthy experience. And discipleship is so much more than a good and healthy experience. It changes your life! And it’s something that you want to share with others. As you follow Jesus fully, you naturally want to invite others to follow Jesus too. In fact, Jesus calls this fishing for me. It’s part of the disciplemaking process – Jesus makes us fishers of men. True disciples want to help others to follow Jesus too.
Well – if you read this far I hope you are smiling at my attempts to glean some disciplemaking lessons from my hot yoga experience.
If you’ve not taken a hot yoga class before, you might want to try it out.
And if you’ve not committed yourself to follow Jesus – I strongly urge you to discover the joys and blessings that come from being a Christ follower!!!
To me, hot yoga is optional. Following Jesus will change your life.