Touch your elbow: that skin right there is God’s Holy of Holies. What if your body is an altar? What if your body is a place for you to encounter God? How does that change how you understand your body?
Yoga is an invitation to explore and discover the truth of who you are in body, mind and spirit. Yoga cultivates a harmonious blend of postural alignment, balance, coordination, concentration, strength, and flexibility with deep breathing, so it is spiritually uplifting and nourishing - but how does the practice teach us to P.R.A.Y.? How do we get out of our head and into our heart? We Prepare, Root, Align, Yield.
by Jennifer Swets
Christian theologian Henri Nouwen writes in his book Here and Now, “Real life takes place in the here and now. God is in the present.” When I read that, I began to think, as human beings, why are we stuck in our past? Why do we mull over events, words, and interactions long gone by? Why do we worry and fixate about tomorrow? Why do we busy ourselves with tasks that we think will give ourselves importance? Why? The answer is often that we are trying to distract ourselves from the present moment because the present is scary.
In the present, we just have to “be.” The present is where God is. Where we hear from God. Well, how scary, daunting, fun, exciting, nerve racking, did I mention scary is that! The present is where we are in relationship with God. Where He speaks to us and where we have the opportunity to answer back. I repeat, how scary, daunting, fun, exciting, and nerve racking is that!
Way back in February, one of the founders of ChristiansPracticingYoga.com, Reverend Professor Kevin Flynn, offered a lecture about Christians practicing yoga in Ottawa, Ontario. His lecture was made available to the online public, and it is available for viewing today!
Lecture Description: Millions of people in Canada and the United States practise yoga these days. Many are Christians. While some practise yoga simply for perceived health benefits, many find it a helpful spiritual practice. Is yoga, in fact, a spiritual practice that Christians can legitimately undertake? What about the warnings against yoga that are heard from some churches, ranging from the Catholic Church to various evangelical denominations? Are Christians misappropriating the cultural or spiritual practices of Hinduism? The webinar will address these questions and try to situate contemporary Christian practice within the larger context of modern postural yoga.
Have you ever thought about the tension between "letting go and letting God" and "fighting the good fight"? When do we act? When do we let God act on our behalf? What is His role? What is our role? These are questions I have come back to many times in my life. Perhaps you struggle with this as well. Does it have to be one or the other or can both be present in our life?
If you're making yoga part of your new year's resolutions, check out our Home Practice page to help inspire your practice!
As a Christian yoga teacher, I always have tried to teach a compassionate yoga class, to focus on breath and movement as a prayer... But now, faced with the death of one of my students, I wondered, could I surrender to what had happened--could I accept the loss of not only a student, but a dear friend?
Vidyavanam ashram, a work of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, is a place to attend to “the one thing necessary” of which Jesus speaks. That one thing necessary -- the transforming encounter with divine Wisdom -- is the animating purpose of the ashram. Vidyavanam means “Forest of Wisdom.” Its purpose is expressed in a variety of ways, all of which centre on silence and simplicity.