About this research

Dana with Gerard and Madé Charrier

Dana with Gerard and Madé Charrier

In 1956, a French Benedictine monk published a groundbreaking, little book called La Voie du Silence, later translated and published in London as Christian Yoga in 1960. His name was Jean-Marie Déchanet, O.S.B., and we call him the Father of Christian Yoga. Within a few years of the publication of La Voie du Silence in 1956 it was translated into 7 European languages and sold over 100,00 copies. It was much less well known in the United States and remains today virtually unknown to the American yoga community and to the American Christian community.

Pere Jean’s book remains in our view the most theologically sophisticated and autobiographical account of hatha yoga from a Christian perspective published to date. We are committed to preserving his teachings and offering them to the Christian yoga community in the United States.

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

In this video, Bobby Karle of Ignatian Yoga and Dana Moore discuss the life and teachings of Fr. Déchanet. Dana is currently working on a project to publish fresh translations of these teachings, offering much needed support and inspiration for today’s Christian interested in practicing yoga.


A Note of Gratitude and Attribution from Dana Moore

All the biographical information for Pere Jean was collected by me, Dana Moore, over the past 19 years. I give special thanks to Father Abbot René of Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Bruges, Belgium for giving me access to the monastery’s archives on Pere Jean. I am grateful to Father Benoit of Saint Andrew’s Abbey for sharing his personal experience of supporting Pere Jean when he returned to the Abbey when he was too old to live in his hermitage. Father Benoit encouraged me to publish his story of the circumstances of Pere Jean’s death. 

Madé Charrier with Pere Jean and his Dog, Chirpie, in 1968

Madé Charrier with Pere Jean and his Dog, Chirpie, in 1968

I am most grateful to Gérard and Madé Charrier of Nancy, France. They were the first to meet Pere Jean in 1965 some months after he took up life as hermit in the southern French Alps in 1964. They were an idealistic young couple in their early twenties when they sought him out. They were to become his closest students, trusted friends and family. They have welcomed me into their home, allowed me to spend some time at Pere Jean’s hermitage and have given me access to their personal collection of Pere Jean’s documents. 

I discovered Christian Yoga by Jean-Marie Déchanet in the Sterling Library at Yale University in 2,000. Since that time I have made several trips to Belgium and France to visit places where Pere Jean lived and to speak with people who knew him. The photographs on this site are published with permission of both Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Bruges and Gérard Charrier, President of the Association of the Friends of Pere Jean, located in Nancy, France.