Finding a Yoga Class in Your Community

There is a no particular style of yoga that makes it "Christian."  As Tilden Edwards says, “What makes a particular practice Christian is not its source, but its intent. If our intent in assuming a particular bodily practice is to deepen our awareness in Christ, then it is Christian. If this is not our intent, then even the reading of Scripture loses its authenticity.” 

The methods vary, but the original and underlying inspiration remains the same: to work with yoga as a spiritual path for all and as a way of opening to God. For Christians, that path goes to God through Jesus Christ, guided by the indwelling Spirit. For others, the path will lead to their understanding of Divinity or Supreme Being or Absolute.

FINDING A CLASS WITH A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE

When you try a class specifically geared toward Christian practitioners, you may find the teacher employs a variety of methods in praying through our whole being. Some use affirmations drawn from scripture while holding a pose. Others “embody” classic prayers like the Lord's Prayer in posture sequences (see Our Books, Resources and Video blog category for examples), and still others develop posture flows to inspiring song prayers as a way of offering thanksgiving, making intercession, and glorifying God in and through our bodies. 

There are several teacher training schools in a North America with a particularly Christian perspective. Visit these sites to find a teacher or classes specifically trained in this style in your area.

Practicing in a local studio or athletic facility

In a typical class, whether taught by a Christian or non-Christian, students might be encouraged to develop their awareness by connecting with the sensations in their bodies, by connecting with their breath, and by noting any emotions or thoughts that arise as they practice asana. This is yoga. As students begin to connect with their bodies, they might be invited to enter into the deep stillness within the body-mind. It is in this inner stillness that we as Christians are invited to open ourselves to the presence of God and the movement of the Holy Spirit within the heart and mind.

Yoga Alliance estimates that there are more than 70,000 yoga teachers in North America and more than 20 million practitioners. There is a dizzying array of styles. It may take some trial and error to find a style and teacher you are comfortable with.

First, find a style that speaks to your physical needs and abilities. Yoga can be vigorous and physically challenging or slow and gentle. Both have their place. A class description or discussion with the studio will help you to decide what is right for your physical needs on any given day. Teachers will vary widely in their approach to postures as well as philosophical teachings.

Second, try a few classes with various instructors at different studios. Many yoga studios have special deals for new students to help you find your class. Approach each class with a spirit of curiosity: some teachers start or end classes with a teaching of yoga, a reading or a poem; some encourage chanting or singing. Our blog can help you decide what you are comfortable with. If there are elements that you aren't comfortable with, remember that you can choose to not participate—to pray instead of chant, to do Child's Pose instead of a difficult pose, to opt for Legs-up-the-wall instead of a headstand. 

A good yoga teacher will help you protect your body by offering modifications for most poses, and will be happy to answer your respectful and well-intentioned questions (sometimes during class, but generally before or after: respect the stillness created in class). 

Don't be discouraged if you don't find the perfect studio or teacher at first. With so many options, it may take some time. 

 

 

Retreats and Workshops

As a resource for connecting Christians who practice yoga, we post any events related to Christianity and yoga/meditation. A listing here is not necessarily an endorsement. As an ecumenical site, we welcome Christians from every denomination, and we understand that not every event on this list will share the same beliefs and practices. As with everything in lifechoosing a school, a church, or a doctorwe encourage discernment in the participants. 

2019

September

Sep 7-8 Connect Europe Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands
You’re invited to our 2nd conference in Europe; Amsterdam. We want to connect with all people in Europe that love God and yoga. 2 days of Christ-centered yoga, sharing of experiences and presentations.
For more information: www.crossyoga.org

Sep 21-28 Yoga Devotion Retreat in Central Italy
Join Cindy Senarighi and Yogadevotion on this exclusive trip to the hill country of Central Italy.
This will be an All-Inclusive Package - All transportation, meals, accommodations, special activities, and day-trips are included. Accommodations provided at Agriturismo, a Villa in the beautiful Italian countryside.

Sep 27-29 Yoga & Silence Weekend Retreat in Beersheba Springs, TN
Save the date, registration coming soon!
Yoga & Silence Weekend Retreat at
Beersheba Springs Assembly in Beersheba Springs, TN

2020

March 21-28  Sole to Soul Christian Yoga Retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica
Rejuvenate and relax as you dig deep sole to soul in God's amazing creation  surrounding the luxurious Bodhi Tree Resort in Nosara, Costa Rica. During the All-Inclusive 7 days you will discover a deeper spiritual connection through your yoga practice and become more of the person God intends for you to be.
Visit Twisted Sister Yoga for more information.

Other Calendars to Consult

Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP, is a regular presenter at Kripalu and leads workshops at various locations throughout the year. You can explore his full calendar here.

Click here for events in Denmark.