Yoga & Christianity
Yoga For Lent
Noe Valley Ministry
1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco
Two Thursdays of Lent
February 19th and 26th, 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
$40 in advance, $50 at the door for both classes
The idea of “discipline” has gotten a bad image in our culture - of something staid, inhibited and restrictive. It is in fact a powerful tool for creating freedom and lightness in our lives. It simplifies our relationship with desires and the ties that so often bind us.
Lent is a wonderful liturgical time to undertake the discipline of “giving up” or “letting go” of some our habits. Discipline is an important teaching in yoga. It can take the form of a commitment: giving up something we do, or introducing something we don't usually do.
In this two-week series, we will undertake the physical and energetic discipline of a body- and-breath practice through a style of yoga that is safe and accessible for everybody. We will begin the class with a passage from scripture setting our intention for each session and as a basis for reflective chanting (in English) to draw our minds inward. The class will include deep relaxation, breathing practices, chanting scripture, concluding with a short silence.
To register for this program:
Or drop check ($40 payable to Dawn Summers) at church office Tuesday – Thursday, or Sunday mornings;
Or mail to: PO Box 1174, Pacifica, CA 94044
Those who preregister for the class will receive a bonus yoga class at 98 Chenery Street, Sundays, 9-10am. Use before March 2.
Church Retreat Opportunity - Faith, Intention, & Acceptance
Christianity has a rich tradition of inward practice and outward service to move us closer to God. Jesus modeled these practices, and serves as our guide and intercessory. The Science of Yoga has much to offer a congregation in support of Christian practice and devotion. The following from yoga can deeply enrich your church retreat:
- Physical practices which can relax and strengthen the body
- Breathing practices which soothe the nervous system and focus the mind
- Meditation techniques using Christian mantras and prayer beads (mala or rosary)
- Chanting in English, Latin, or other source Christian languages
- Lectio Divina in a context of a breath, movement, and ritual practice
- Body prayer - slow, prayerful movements of intention
- Rituals done with Christian readings, chants, art, sound, devotion
- Information and philosophy which explains Christian practice and devotion
- Reflective Journaling
These group activities can be adapted to the physical abilities of those present, and harmonized with the culture and traditions of your wonderfully unique church. See sample schedule for a one-night retreat which illustrates how yoga can be incorporated into a retreat program.
|4:00 - 6:00 pm||Registration|
|6:00 - 7:00||Dinner|
|7:30 - 9:00||Gathering and ritual - Introduction by pastor. Ritual of blessing and building altar can be conducted by Dawn Summers or Pastor|
|9:00 - 9:20||Christian Mantra initiation and explanation of how to use prayer beads - Dawn. Brief meditation, ending with prayer by Pastor|
|Silence recommended thereafter.|
|Silence recommended before breakfast.|
|7:00 - 7:45 am||Yoga practice - Dawn (Other physical practices may be led concurrently if there is a congregant who can lead Tai Chi, Chi Gong, etc.)|
|7:45 - 8:15||Breathing practices and meditation - Dawn|
|8:30 - 9:30||Breakfast|
|9:30 am - 12:30 pm||Session - lecture and discussion - Dawn and Pastor
Journaling - Pastor leads
|12:30 - 2:30||Lunch, free time|
|2:30 - 3:45||Practice with movement, Lectio Divina, chanting, meditation - Dawn with readers|
|4:00 - 5:00||Closing ritual and communion - Pastor|
The Eastern teachings of yoga expound the science of transformation and communion. It is a profound and vast foundation which relates to how the mind, heart, and spirit function, and how to unfold the integrated functioning of each. This wisdom of yoga is nonsectarian (not Hindu) and goes beyond the common version taught in the West, which focuses primarily on physical postures. Yoga philosophy can provide the bones of practice to which Christianity can add the meat and culture from the wisdom of our Master Teacher, Christ. In fact, most Christians who practice yoga become better Christians.
Dawn Summers has taught yoga since 1985 in a variety of contexts, including a Lenten yoga series, working with pastors to deepen their spiritual practice through yoga and ritual, teaching conferences and retreats. She also trains yoga instructors and yoga therapists. She is certified at the highest level as a yoga therapist in a rigorous program by the American Viniyoga Institute. She is artful in the use of chanting and ritual, and sensitive and skillful in creating a safe, accessible physical yoga practice for any level student.
For the extended retreat schedule into Sunday, I would suggest much more free time on Saturday afternoon with an afternoon yoga practice beginning at 5:00 pm and Lectio Divina or other evening activity. Sunday morning would be similar to the Saturday morning schedule, but including a Sunday worship service.
Lecture topic: Suffering and Atonement - How Yoga Explains Christian Practices Towards God.
ReferencesReverend Joan Huff
San Francisco, CA
Reverend Keenan Kelsey
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA