Light Your Life with Yoga.

Yoga & Christianity

Yoga & Christianity

Spiritual Harvest - Nurturing the Body with Christian Yoga

Mercy Center
2300 Adelaide Avenue, Burlingame
Six Tuesdays, 6:00 p.m.–7:15 p.m.
September 27 thru November 1, 2011

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As we return to our busy fall schedule, let us schedule time for nurturing ourselves. As we enjoy the bounty of the autumn’s harvest and the bright colors of the season, let us reap our spiritual harvest by focusing our attention on the body and breath to prepare the mind and heart for quiet reflection, prayer and contemplation. Our contemplative practices are deepened when the body soothed, strengthened and relaxed.

In this eight-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:

Yoga & Christianity

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.

Sample Schedule
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.


Reverend Joan Huff
San Francisco, CA

Reverend Keenan Kelsey
San Francisco, CA

David Elliott
San Francisco, CA