Yoga On The Labyrinth
By Christy O'Connell
Some people go to church, while others go to yoga. Why not go to yoga at church? Yes, you’re hearing that right. Every Tuesday night Grace Cathedral hosts ‘Yoga on the Labyrinth’ in the entire church. As I walked up California Street, the pilgrimage of folks dressed in athleisure-wear toting theirs mats was unusual to say the least. I arrived 15 minutes early and surely thought that was ample time. To my surprise, the church’s main aisles, center altar and smaller prayer alcoves were already full. I luckily found a good location, quickly unfurled my mat and saved a spot for my friend. I had asked one of the volunteers who many they expected and was told the week before over 700 people had attended. Wow! I’m sure the Lord is happy to see that many people in his church doing yoga. I bet he would probably rather them are there on Sunday instead!
At 6:15pm, the Pastor introduced himself and reiterated the gospel’s message from Sunday’s services. When I looked around, many folks were very present and paying attention to the poignancy and relevance of his words. It was wonderful to be in this mighty church listening to his suggestions for a Spiritual Awakening. It was a nice dovetail into the next 60 minutes of hatha yoga.
When you enter the church, you can’t miss the enormous Labyrinth. I would imagine hosting folks around the labyrinth was the initial plan. However, word got out and now it takes up the whole church. In the center they have setup a small altar covered by a tapestry, arranged with candles. The musicians’ form a circle around the altar and the yogis behind them. Darren Main is the fearless and funny instructor who continually makes his way around the church. I can honestly say the location and presence of all the yogis made the session fly by that much quicker. Before I knew it, the hour was up and it was time for savasana. As I lay down on my mat, the lights dimed, you could feel the chilly air in the church. The musicians continued to play and I felt myself slipping into a meditative state. Something about being in this religious and holy building didn’t seem so unusual anymore. It actually felt very comforting and welcoming. Raised Catholic, I mostly visit on high holidays. However, I definitely see myself returning on another Tuesday night in the near future. Next time, I’ll arrive a bit earlier to get a better spot. It truly was a spiritual experience.
Yoga is my church. Namaste.
To learn more about Yoga on the Labyrinth: www.labyrinthyoga.com.