Here are some answers to your questions about what we do.
Christians Practicing Yoga is a nonprofit? What do you do?
Our mission: CPY studies the intersections of yoga philosophy and Christian theology—and the practices of both—in order to provide support, education, and community for an interdenominational Christian audience.
That’s a complex sentence. What does it mean?
We could have written this statement more simply: CPY provides support, education, and community for an interdenominational Christian audience curious about the intersections of yoga philosophy and Christian theology and the practices of both. It is our desire to provide support, education, and community.
That support, though, grows out of study—individual study and communal sharing, via this blog and through friendships. Being dedicated to studying the intersections of yoga and Christianity is a form of yoga in itself—a path of learning more about God through Christian theology and the vehicle of yoga and its philosophy. It’s a path of letting our bodies teach us about the incarnate God.
Our gatherings are marked by teachers sharing their intellectual inquiries into yoga philosophy and Christian theology, discussing those intersections, and actually practicing yoga together.
This ongoing study is what we hope to share with you in practical ways that provide community for all Christians practicing yoga, support for your practice and teaching, and education about all things at the intersection of Yoga and Christianity.
What about specific phrasing in this statement?
Intersections of yoga philosophy and Christian theology
This phrasing indicates our deep respect for both our own Christian theology and for the tradition and philosophy of Yoga (and Modern Postural Yoga). The word “intersections” indicates that there are many perspectives, many ways that these two things mix together. We honor all of these perspectives and the dialogue between them.
—and the practices of both—
The phrasing inside the dashes here is to emphasize the embodied integration of our head and heart in this study. All the study and community is for naught unless we are actually doing the practice.
support, education, and community
These are the three outcomes we hope to provide on a broader basis than just our biennial teacher’s retreat. Our website already provides support and education, but both of these things can and will be expanded on as we grow. Becoming a more active online presence should also foster the community part online and in more physical spaces as well through retreats and courses (someday).
an interdenominational Christian audience
At this point, we’re *just* focusing on Christian audiences. By “Christian,” here, we mean everyone who identifies as a Christian—Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, everyone. As you yourself have likely experienced, Christians are divided on so many issues. At our retreats, we experience a unique commUNITY between Christians from a wide array of expressions of Christian faith. This ecumenical (interdenominational) dialogue and unity is part of what we hope to offer to the world.
Behind the scenes, interfaith dialogue is part of what some of us do and is integral to Fr. Tom Ryan’s work, but it is not yet something that has really been embodied on our website or asked for in email. Interfaith dialogue is definitely something we welcome, and it is an area where we hope to grow in the future.