June 30, 2019: Yoga and the Gift of Presence

by Mother Diana

What does yoga have to do with church?

Since Sunday Evening Yoga and Prayer launched last October, parishioners and neighbors have gathered in our nave to listen and move to poetry and excerpts from the evening prayer service. Some participants say it is a profoundly religious experience in which they connect to God. Others say it simply allows them to relax before a new week begins. 

Recently, I asked some of our regular yogis – some of them experienced practitioners, others participating from pews or mobility scooters – why they continue to return week after week. Here is some of what they shared, in their own words.

  • “Breathing [meditation] helps me develop a prayer discipline. I’ve been better able to connect with my body.” – Nancy
  • The evening “prayers become more real because you are moving and participating in the prayers. God feels more present to me.” – Hilary
  • How is it different from other worship experiences? “It is wonderfully holistic, grounded in traditional Christian thought and expression but embracing the embodiment that yoga offers, and appreciating the wisdom of meditative traditions and mystics.” – Rebecca
  • “I’ve never been into reading poetry, but here I can get the poems, maybe because the body integrates with the brain.” – Caroline
  • “I find it enormously calming and healing. I believe that yoga provides a unique port of entry for mindful prayer and contemplative faith. I am happy to have space to explore this. Our yogic pastor creates a welcoming space for everyone, and it is the only yoga my husband will do. [The setting] allows you to lose yourself a little and focus on the text [of the reading] and not the speaker, sanctuary, flowers, people’s clothing.”  – Jack
  • “I love it because I feel it is a full expression of gratitude of body, mind, and spirit. I love being in the space at church, worshiping and being grateful most fully.” –Julie
  • “I feel I can honor the gift of presence [before God]. The closest parallel I can think of is singing. I am honoring God’s gifts in the stretching of my muscles.” – vEnessa
  • What would you change? “I can’t think of anything I would change.” – Rebecca

Please join us Sunday evenings at 5:30 and find out how your body can sing to the Lord.

Last Published: June 26, 2019 2:17 PM
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