What on earth is a Yoga Church? you might be asking yourself. Well, we are figuring that out and would love for you to help us with that.
What is it???
My dear friend Summer Cushman explains it here:
The Yoga Church is about Mystery and Love. The intention is to support you in your efforts to connect with Divine Mystery (however you define it) and build your capacity to love—we’re trying to learn how to love ourselves, our communities, and our world better.
Yoga is both a state of being and the practices that help us reach that state of being. It’s a vast spiritual science that includes so much more than postures. The root of Yoga is yuj, which means union. Yoga is the union of God and Self. Church is a word that signifies a community of people gathered together to explore and honor divinity. While the word church is most often associated with Christianity, it’s used by several non-christian groups including Buddhists and even atheists. The Yoga Church is not a Christian group that practices yoga postures. The Yoga Church is a gathering of diverse people with different religious experience and understanding, unified by their desire to live lives of intention, meaning, and mystery. Together we explore and honor the vast traditions of the East and West. Our only dogma is LOVE.~Summer Cushman
If you would never walk into a church, this place is for YOU. If you walk into a church or synagogue or temple every week, this place is for YOU. If you would never try yoga, this place is for YOU. If you practice yoga regularly and want to dive deeper into your own spiritual practice, this place is for YOU. It’s interfaith and open to all.
I met Summer Cushman when I enrolled in my 200HR Yoga Teacher Training at CITYOGA in 2010. She was finishing seminary at the Earlham School of Religion and had discovered the healing powers of yoga. We stayed connected after training and I lived vicariously through her as she went on to dive into advanced teacher training and even yoga therapy training. She was then invited to be a part of a grant-funded project at Earlham that provided seed money to alumni who were interested in non-traditional methods of ministry. This is when the Yoga Church was born. She started publishing weekly sermon videos and I started watching! They were short videos recorded on her property out in the Pacific Northwest and they always offered rich food for thought and meaningful spiritual practices. Eventually she began to hold weekly gatherings in her town of Bellingham (another BTown! although they call themselves Bham 😉 ) and Summer took a chance and scheduled a retreat in the summer of 2019 to bring the community together.
Bringing it to Bloomington
I had the opportunity to attend that retreat last summer with Summer and some of the Yoga Church community members. I also got to attend her weekly in-person gathering in BHam and started to have a vision for how we could bring this offering to BTown as an extension of Summer’s work. When I asked her what she thought about that idea, she was so excited about the idea of the Yoga Church branching out to other communities. So, our BTown Yoga Church gatherings are a pilot project to see how we can do just that. We gather in community, take in Summer’s sermon, move our bodies, journal, and meditate; spending time contemplating the concepts shared and how they show up for us. This isn’t your traditional church….and it’s not a typical yoga class either. We are figuring out what it looks like and how it can be structured to best fit the needs of our BTown community. If you want to gather with others and dive into spirituality, we’d love to have you join us for this donation-based offering!
Looking forward to what this sacred gathering and the community that gathers will create! Much love,