Introducing the CPY Writing Team
We’ve been on hiatus for months as we gathered ideas, inspiration and wisdom from many members of our community. We are thrilled to announce a new team of writers. Over the next few weeks, our team will introduce (or reintroduce) themselves.
Our community is often asked to answer, “Why yoga?” Deeply moved and inspired by the late Rachel Held Evans and her ideas on the Power of Testimony, each writer’s first post will instead answer “Why Christian? Why yoga?” If you’d like to receive “Weekly Wonderings from CPY,” a digest of the posts from the week, please provide your email. We look forward to your comments and suggestions for future posts.
Renee Aukeman Prymus is the Executive Editor and President of Christians Practicing Yoga. A registered yoga teacher since 2008 (RYT 200), she deeply loves the way studying the tradition of yoga invites her deeper into the contemplative practices of Christianity and into the heart of God. Practicing yoga as a Christian has also led her to explore, along with her friend Lauren, motherhood as a contemplative practice.
Renee is a lecturer in composition at the University of Pittsburgh and a guest instructor through the Continuing Education program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She enjoys bringing contemplative practices into the traditional classroom.
Kelly McLellan (E-RYT 200) has been a student of yoga for over 25 years and teaching for almost as long! She attended the University of Florida where she studied psychology and the mind-body connection. She went on to receive a Masters in Health Science Education specializing in holistic health and alternative therapies.
She is the owner of Getting Still Studios, a faculty member at Montreat College, and a yoga teacher trainer currently working with YogaFaith and the Yoga Abbey where she teaches classes that blend the ancient practice of classical yoga with sacred Christian scriptures. A teacher at heart, Kelly created an online training and mentoring program to help people to understand the practices and philosophies of yoga from a Christian worldview. She is passionate about equipping others for their God given purpose as a yogi, teacher, or member of the greater yoga community. You can follow Kelly and read her musings about the intersection of faith, yoga, creativity, and spirituality HERE.
Allyson has practiced yoga for her entire life. After completing her yoga teacher training, she delved into researching the spiritual aspects of yoga. She founded Bethel Yogi, a blog dedicated to the intersection of yogic philosophy and Christian theology. She is a registered yoga teacher, a registered children’s yoga teacher, a registered Christian Yoga Association teacher, and a certified aerial yoga teacher. She plans on furthering her studies by attending graduate school to research mysticism in the United States.
Amy Dobson Secrist is a Mindfulness and Yoga Educator at Mind Body Align where she teaches yoga and assists the Wellness Education team in bringing Mindfulness practice to local schools. Amy has been practicing yoga for more than twenty years and teaching for over 16 (E-RYT 300). She established The Catholic Yogi in 2013 as a way to share her love of yoga and her love of Christ, to show how the two are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary, and to be a beacon of light to anyone in need of a safe space to search, seek, explore, and discover.
Amy received her BA in English & Writing from The Ohio State University and her MA in English & Writing from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, Vermont. She makes her home in Mid-Ohio with her husband and four children ~ her household gurus, dispellers of darkness!
Joanne Spence, BSW, MA is an Experience Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level (E-RYT 500) and a certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). She is a wife to Doug of 30+ years and has three adult children who all practice yoga. Joanne writes about yoga and mental health for children and adults. She also teaches at Urban Oasis Pittsburgh and various locations around the globe. Her writing and teaching/training schedule can be found at www.joannespence.com and www.yogainschools.org
Molly Metzger (RYT 200) has been a volunteer with CPY since 2014, managing the website and social media. Though not currently teaching, she is faithful to her regular yoga, meditation and prayer practices.
Raised on a steady diet of weekly mass attendance and Catholic school in Northeastern Ohio, her first faith experiences were good ones, but skepticism began to creep in with the advent of adulthood. The practices of yoga and meditation opened her eyes to the treasures offered in her original faith tradition. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughters, and in her spare time loves nothing more than traveling to meet up with her wild Irish family.
Doreen Corwith Eckert
Doreen Corwith Eckert is a Certified Himalayan Institute(500 hour) Yoga Teacher and a Certified Spanda Yoga Movement Therapist who has been teaching since 1997. She is also a Reiki Energy Practitioner and writer. Her passion is helping others experience the Divine within and making connections between classic yoga and Christ’s teachings. She lives with her family on eastern Long Island, NY, USA.
The Reverend Kevin Flynn is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Director of the Anglican Studies Program in the Faculty of Theology at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. He served various parishes in Toronto before taking up the work in Ottawa. He has practised yoga for over 30 years and is a certified Hatha yoga teacher. His Doctor of Ministry research has focused on the experiences of Christians who practise yoga. Professor Flynn teaches in the areas of pastoral practice, liturgy, ecumenism, and spirituality.
Father Thomas Ryan is an ordained Paulist. His first encounter with yoga came in 1991 during a study sabbatical in world religions at Shantivanam ashram in South India, at the time directed by interfaith dialogue pioneer Fr. Bede Griffiths, OSB. Fr. Tom’s ministry has been largely centered around the work for Christian unity and interfaith dialogue and collaboration. Father Tom is the author of 15 books, including Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice and the DVD Yoga Prayer. His most recent book is Praying by Hand, Praying with Beads.
Much of the research and hard work of archiving and rediscovering the teachings of Fr. Déchanet can be attributed to CPY member Dana Moore. Dana Moore, O.S.B. Oblate is the lineage holder of the Christian Yoga tradition of Jean-Marie Déchanet, O.S.B. the Father of Christian Yoga. He publishes material from the Fr. Déchanet archives and leads retreats at the Fr. Déchanet Hermitage in the Southern French Alps and at Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Bruges, Belgium where Fr. Déchanet first discovered yoga.
Dana is a founding member of the Christians Practicing Yoga network and a founding member of the Christian Yoga Association. Dana has been sharing Fr. Déchanet’s life and teachings since 2000. Dana earned masters degrees in theology at Yale University Divinity School and psychology at Boston College. He maintains a private practice in Christian counseling and trauma-focused therapy in Santa Fe, NM. www.journeywell.org