“Welcome Home” by Rebecca Gruntz

Seven years ago I was at one of the lowest points in my life. Depression had a grasp on me, I was in a relationship which I expected to fill me, I had almost completely turned my back on my relationship with Christ, and I didn’t know what would make me happy.

Going into my Junior year of college, my roommate (now best friend) invited me to Mass. This wasn’t an uncommon invitation, as we had been friends and roommates for a year prior. However, this year was going to be different. I was working on building relationships to pull myself out of this dark hole. My roommate mentioned there would be free food after Mass, so as a starving college student, I had the perfect excuse to go. Little did I know that small invitation would forever change my life. 

I sat in the back with my best friend and had an experience in church like nothing I had ever felt. I will never forget leaving Mass and saying to my roommate, that was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed. Following Mass, I went to this huge dinner with a bunch of strangers who would become life-long friends. Never in my life had I felt so welcome in a church experience. It was as if God whispered to me “Welcome home.” 

The following year and a half I had many more moments like this. From a Pentecost moment of reading the Bible during Advent and realizing how enveloped the Mass is in the Bible, to meeting my now husband and becoming even close friends to my roommate, I found home in the Church. 

Now you may be wondering, “Okay great, but I thought this was a yoga blog?” Well it is, so now let me share a bit about my yoga journey so you might see the connection. 

Like many colleges, Louisiana Tech offered free yoga classes. I had always been interested in yoga, but never had the opportunity to try. So after being forced into a class thanks to a physical training exercise with ROTC, I realized that it was something I truly enjoyed. Through my time at Tech, I drifted through many different workout styles. From running, to power lifting, to swimming, I craved some way to move my body that I could truly connect with. As you may have guessed, I was always drawn back to yoga. 

Fast forward to my life after college. I spent a year or so still searching for the way to connect with my body. I watched some YouTube classes, joined some in-person classes, and then a question that had bothered me for awhile came top of mind: Is this something that I can do and still be involved in church? Is it acceptable to do yoga and still love Jesus? In hindsight it feels like a silly question, but as a Baptist-turned-Catholic-convert, I was really torn. It felt as if I was getting fulfillment not just from church, but also from yoga. 

In all honesty, it’s still something I wrestle with at times. However, one Tao quote has always stuck with me. “There are many paths to the same summit.” To me, this is a beautiful reminder that we are not all called to live life exactly the same. My faith is something personal, but something worth sharing. It is a beautiful experience that I can sit in meditation after a class and hear the voice of God breathe life into me. It isn’t always easy, but He has shown me that to truly love Him is to learn to love myself and respect my body. 

As I write this, I’d also like to point out that big changes are happening in my life. I am four months pregnant and have had a pretty rough start to my pregnancy. Between the exhaustion and the time spent sick, it’s been very difficult for me to connect with myself or God. However, the two things that have brought me some semblance of peace have been my Faith and my yoga mat.

Ultimately, I think that’s what it means to be a “Catholic Yogi.” To be willing to step into the world and recognize that not everyone will agree with the way you look at life. Willing to follow Christ while also recognizing the beauty that Buddha or Muhammad brought to this world. Willing to share your struggles and learn to find peace in the chaos. I hope whoever you are and wherever you are while you’re reading this can recognize that you are blessed and a beloved child of God. 

You can find Rebecca on Instagram at @ladygruntzalot.

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