A couple of friends sent me an article today called “Yoga – A Catholic Perspective,” and as soon as I saw the graphic and the one-line synopsis, I knew I wasn’t going to like it. But after getting through about three paragraphs, I realized I was wrong. I didn’t dislike the story; I HATED it. I have to say that this is one of the most insulting pieces — and that’s being really kind — I’ve ever seen written on the topic, and that’s saying something. I mean, I don’t know what this priest’s experience with yoga is personally, but there is almost nothing about this story that holds water for most of us who are intimately involved in the two aspects of his topic: Catholicism and yoga. Read more
Here’s the Letter to the Editor I fired off to Spirituality & Health this morning. I think it pretty much says it all. (A special thank you to my friend Jeanne G. for inspiring me to speak up on this.)
To the editors,
I recently subscribed to Spirituality & Health. I was so excited to get my first issue (May/June 2013) — until I opened it up to the Rabbi Shapiro piece and was stunned to see wildly inaccurate and incredibly offensive statements regarding my Catholic Christian faith. I was so upset I almost called immediately to cancel my subscription, but I tried to let it go, assuming (hoping) it was an isolated incident. I have to admit, however, that I could not read the rest of the issue because I was so turned off by what I’d seen up to that point. Read more
Today was a classic case of turning lemons into lemonade. What had at first seemed like a potential inconvenience became a blessing. Read more
I returned to yoga class this week after a long hiatus, and while it was sooooo good to be back on my mat, it wasn’t without its challenges. But probably not the challenges you would expect. When it comes to my Y-based yoga classes, my struggles have less to do with balancing and strength poses and more to do with other people. I know, that’s probably not something I’m supposed to admit when I’m trying to reach some higher level of spiritual development, but I think a little honesty is a more direct route to that spiritual place than total denial and the inner wailing and gnashing of teeth. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, I guarantee you know what I mean. Hear me out… Read more
I almost didn’t go to yoga class this morning. I was awake at 5 a.m. but my body felt worn out, more so than usual. I wanted to “sleep in” until 6:15, except I couldn’t sleep. So I figured, if I’m not going to sleep, I might as well do yoga. And off I went. Read more
I always get to the 5:45 a.m. yoga class at least 10 minutes early, better to settle in and spend a little time in silence before the studio fills up. Today was no different, at least not at first. I stretched a bit before closing my eyes and taking up half-lotus, patiently waiting for our teacher to arrive. Soon. Shortly. Any minute now…. Read more
Earlier today, I was out in our sun porch doing some gentle yoga in hopes of loosening up a nagging back muscle problem. As I stretched upward to begin a basic sun salutation, I realized I was looking up at my beautiful clay crescent moon, given to me by a good friend many years ago. Then later, as I turned to do a warrior pose, I noticed the clay sun hanging directly opposite. Suddenly all felt right with the world on this Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
This morning I returned to my beloved early morning yoga class after a very long hiatus due to a physical condition/injury. I won’t bore you with details. Suffice to say, I had and will have for the rest of my life a situation that prevents me from fully doing yoga the way I like to do it.
I was supposed to be starting 200-hour yoga teacher training this month. Instead, my favorite yoga teacher is recommending I learn to be satisfied with taking classes in “chair yoga” and “water yoga.” I’m not good at being satisfied with what I view as “less than,” but perhaps therein lies the lesson. Another thing I really don’t want to hear. Read more
This essay originally appeared at the Catholic portal of Patheos.com.
By Mary DeTurris Poust
When I took my first yoga class more than twenty years ago, I was in a bit of a crisis in terms of the Catholic faith of my birth. My mother had recently died and I had moved out of my family home and across the country. I was searching in so many ways and came upon yoga through a friend who knew a teacher who held classes in her home. There, on a mat in an empty living room, I learned how to stretch and settle my body in new ways, ways that allowed me to more easily enter a spiritual realm that has always beckoned to me. Read more