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The Holy Weedwhacker: October 1 at 10am

Alison Faison

Yoga is for Everyone.

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.

Rocky Blumhagen

Yoga Journal: A Beginner’s Guide to Kundalini Yoga

Cover photo: Alison Faison

More to Explore

Calvary’s 169 Years of Change-Makers

Occasionally I hear comments to the effect of, “Calvary’s recent highlighting of political issues can deter people from attending worship services.” My response is something like, “Since July 23, 1854, for 169 years, Calvary has been addressing human rights issues directly related to Jesus’ radical welcome. In 2020, we, along with many congregations across the U.S., became a Matthew 25 church that outwardly proclaims our commitment to feeding the hungry, clothing the unclothed, housing the unhoused, and loving those who are pushed aside and threatened by the workings of established societal systems.” In July 2021, I wrote a short children’s book called “You are a Calvary History-Maker.” I noted stories researched by Joe Beyer and information written in Carol Green Wilson’s book “Many Years One Message: Calvary Presbyterian Church: 1854 – 1979.” The opening line of my story is, “You are a Calvary history change-maker whether you have been sitting on the velvet sanctuary pew for half of your life or have only watched a few online services while sitting in your jammies on the couch this year.” The Protestant idea that we are the “community/priesthood of believers” gives us all permission to participate in our own faith-formation, as well as points to the responsibility to actively respond to our call. We don’t attend worship so we can watch the pastors and staff do community outreach. We attend worship to be inspired to courageously carry out the call of Matthew 25 into our relationships, work life, spiritual growth, and public action.

Summer with Children and Youth

Summer is a busy time for families as they shift from the school-year schedules to summer camps, programs, and vacations. How does church fit into families’ summer schedules? Many years ago, Calvary held summer worship services in the chapel and did not offer childcare. It was a time when pastors would go on study leave and vacations and folks would be out of town. It was a good time for families to sit together during worship. For almost ten years, we have had childcare open every Sunday throughout the year. We support families whenever they come to Calvary. Families have the choice to sit together during worship or walk their children to childcare and Sunday Studio.

More About Juneteenth

Join the Calvary Racial Equity Initiative (REI) Team after worship this Sunday, June 18, to celebrate our newest Federal holiday and the oldest known holiday that observes the end of slavery in the U.S. Enjoy Coffee Hour with treats from a local Black-owned business and information about Black heroes. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Gen. Gordon Granger announced that the enslaved people in Texas were free by the order of the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1862. The Calvary church building will be closed on Monday, June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth. This blog will provide links to Juneteenth history resources and information about reparations. Amos 5:24 "But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry."