The BTown Yoga Church Gatherings

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.

History

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,

~Marci

Links for more information:

I believe…

What DO I believe????

This has been something I’ve had on my to-do list for a long time. As a fully formed adult who has raised 2 <almost> fully formed adults, I wanted to get clear with myself on what I believe to be true. This has sat on my list of to-dos for a long time because if felt like quite a big undertaking.

Doing soul searching to see if my long-held beliefs are still really true for me sounds like a lot of work and a bit scary. In yogic terms, Svadhyaya can be translated to self study and it is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary to think that a long-held belief you’ve had may no longer be true for you….and what do you do with that.  I also had to let go of the idea that I shouldn’t make the list until I knew it was 100% (perfection being the enemy of progress, you know).   So, this is what came to me when I finally sat down to work on it. And I’m sure as soon as I publish it, more will arise for me….perhaps a Volume II will come down the line. But for now…in no particular order…

I believe in the power of prayer and stillness.

I believe in the power of hard work and determination.

I believe in a power much greater than myself.

I believe that power is within me, as well.

I believe that power is within all people, maybe even in all things.

I believe Jesus came to earth to show us the way.

I believe spiritual growth only happens with intention and is extremely personal.

I believe change is the only guarantee on this earth.

I believe when we grasp onto anything, we eventually will suffer for it.

I believe there are times when we are brought to our knees and the only thing we can manage to do is to breathe. And that process of breathing is enough.

I believe my heart has the capacity to grow 10x it’s size in an instant.

I believe that loving all people is a challenge and is challenging. We are here to navigate this obstacle course.

I believe my children have been my most significant teachers.

I believe people who hurt others have been deeply hurt themselves.

I believe there is much to learn from most of the major theological systems.

I believe in equality for all humans.

I believe there are people I’ve met to whom I feel a connection that transcends this lifetime.

I believe that laughter is really good medicine.

I believe it is not my place to tell others how to live their lives.

I believe there is a lot of miscommunication in this world that leads to a lot of wasted energy.

I believe eye contact is one of the most valuable tools in our toolbox. True listening another.

I believe I expect way more out of myself than I would expect of others.

I believe humans make things way more complicated than they need to be.

I believe life is messy and hard and beautiful and scary and exhausting and exhilarating and surprising and boring and happy and sad and fun and…and…and…and it’s the same for everyone.

I believe the more Christ-like I try to live, the simpler life becomes.

I believe we are capable of so much more than we think we are.

I believe my time is one of the most precious gifts I can share with others.

I believe that Love truly always wins in the end.

I believe we would all benefit from pumping the brakes on our lives. Look around and take stock of what you are blessed with.

I believe that underneath it all, we all really want the same things….to love, to be loved, to be safe and secure, to do meaningful work, to have something to show for our work, to experience joy, to be able to bear our struggles, and to do it all with a community of people we can trust.

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I invite you to the same undertaking. Spend some time considering what it is that you hold as true. And write it down. Get clear on it. Make sure your thoughts, words, and actions align with your beliefs.

~Namaste~  the light that lives within me sees and honors the same light living in you