*This devotion originally presented during a CORE2CROSS Pilates session (March 2011):
The second Pilates principle is alignment. Once we become aware of the body’s intended alignment, we can begin to work toward bringing ourselves into this alignment or neutral spine position. Achieving and maintaining alignment places all of the muscles and joints in the proper place providing our bodies the protection and support. Our resulting good posture aids in more productive and efficient movements in our daily lives. However, when we are out of alignment, we place stress on our bodies which results in pain, bad-posture, inefficient and ineffective movements.
The benefits of spinal alignment include building of the core muscles, sometimes referred to as stabilizers, help to support the spine in “readiness for activity.” By being protected by this core, we can move more effectively without fear of injury or pain. Although this physical alignment is important, our spiritual alignment is also crucial for protection, support, and effectiveness in our life’s movements. Proper alignment of our will to God’s results in protection and support from our Heavenly Father. By increasing our awareness of God’s will for us, we begin to strengthen the CORE of our faith, stabilizing and supporting us. With this “readiness for activity” we can move with protection and support efficiently and effectively toward the goal, walking in alignment with His will, carrying the cross He has for us.
In our examination of Jesus’ path toward the Cross, we can see how alignment follows awareness. In Luke 2:46 we see Him practicing awareness, “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” It would then be time for Jesus to begin finding and maintaining the alignment to God’s will as he moved. The CORE strengthened, He is supported and protected in “readiness for activity.” *Note here that His alignment begins immediately with His awareness-nothing, not even His parents leaving to make their own journey, pulls Him out of alignment with the center of His faith, the Temple, His CORE. The very next verse after leaving the temple shows Jesus’ first movements in alignment. Luke 2:51-52 tells us, “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them…And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” You see, Jesus, strengthened in the CORE of His faith- the scriptures was able to stay in alignment as He began his walk toward the goal- to carry the CROSS. Psalm 143:10 illustrates how becoming aware, learning God’s will can be a stabilizing force. The psalmist says, “Teach me to do your will-may your Spirit lead me to level ground.” If we allow God to teach us His will, and walk in it by maintaining alignment, our daily activities will be effective, efficient, and supported by His Spirit. Jesus would demonstrate this very truth as He began His journey toward the cross. By building His CORE strength, He would show the “readiness of activity” that God would ask of Him. Next, He would engage His stabilizing CORE with the Breath of the Holy Spirit, then moving with precision and control through His life on Earth, He would show us all how to flow through the movements of our faith by keeping the focus on the Father-the ultimate Stabilizing Core as He moved along God’s path for Him… for us—our ultimate Stabilizer- our CORE, but HIS CROSS.