We are thrilled to have experienced eight Monday night Kundalini Yoga classes at Calvary this spring. Rocky Blumhagen and Laura Paradis taught yoga postures, breathing techniques, all while playing lovely music, a gong or the crystal singing bowls. The spaciousness and light of Calvin Hall added to the calm sensory experience. Over forty people have joined us for one or all classes. We look forward to continuing this class from 6 – 7 pm on Mondays during June and July. Please note that there will be no yoga classes on May 29 – Memorial Day, June 19 – Juneteenth, and July 2 – Holiday weekend.
Yoga is a safe and healing practice for children, youth, adults, and senior adults. B.K.S. Iyengar, legendary yogi, practiced yoga up until he died at 96 years of age. He wrote many books, influenced yoga teachers around the world, and taught his family members, so that they would carry on his legacy. Iyengar method yoga is one of the many styles of yoga, but is based in the values outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras written between the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. A sutra is a single verse composed of Sanskrit words strung like beads in one continuous line. Sutras, like mantras, are chanted or sung. The sutra explains the value at hand, such as non-violence or cleanliness. Patanjali explains that asana, yoga postures, are only one part of practicing yoga. The described yogi works over time to embody all of the yogic values by observing austerities, refraining from distraction, and ultimately focusing on the presence of God.
Most of us have experienced prayer, community singing, quiet meditation, and moving our bodies with intelligence as to avoid injury. The goal is to do these actions enough to call them a regular practice. Sometimes we only have time for one short practice, but we know that the ten minutes can take our stress level down and focus us on who we are and to whom we belong. This is a lot like what we do during worship, bible study small groups, or in civic marches where we set our intention to support the lives of others. What are the practices that ground and focus you?
How do we use our practice of worshipping in community in order to ground and focus us? Calvary worship services incorporate instrumental and vocal sound in ways similar to a Buddhist group of chanting people, called a sangha. We speak the Call to Worship and Prayer of Confession together and then sing the Gloria and hymns. Humming and singing activates the vagus nerve. We return to the sanctuary because of the way we feel why we are there. We might be feeling grounded, emotional, enthusiastic, or sad. Similar to the Hindu yoga practice and Buddhist meditation practices, we witness the way things are in that present moment. It is a reality check that brings us back to earth, reminds us of our mortality, and energizes us to value what we have right now. We hope that you will join us on Mondays this season.
If you want to learn more about Kundalini yoga, please visit these websites.
Cover photo: Alison Faison