Yoga and prayer for full-body worship experience

Posted: May 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm

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May 23rd, 2014 1:49 pm by AMY WILSON

Worship requires neither proper place nor proper clothing. For believers, the same could be said of God's grace. It requires no invitation and is necessitated by no particular Sunday morning ritual. It can sometimes show itself ostentatiously on a Monday morning or slyly reveal itself entirely unbidden on a Thursday at 3:15.

And sometimes it can show up when you are in an uncomfortable yoga position where you started by doing a push-up, then your left knee dropped to the floor near your right hip and your forearms lowered to the mat and then your right leg fell to the floor and your right foot's circulation is about done and you're supposed to be lifting your chest up at the same time.

And there it is. What everyone here has come for, really. That moment that "I'm with God by myself," explains Courtney Scantlin, a working mother of two from Lake Forest, Calif., who is not so unfamiliar with God's grace that she is blinded by the fact that she is also multitasking while doing Holy Yoga at Mariner's Church in Mission Viejo, Calif., on a Tuesday night.

But, say its adherents, Holy Yoga is hardly an attempt to make worship more convenient for the overtaxed 21st-century fitness-minded set. Imagined 10 years ago by Brooke Boon, a yogi before she was a Christian, its mission statement is designed to put a halt to those Christian groups that might find the traditional Eastern practice of yoga somehow suspect as a vehicle for Christian reverence.

"Holy Yoga," the statement reads, "is experiential worship specifically created to deepen your connection to Christ. Our sole purpose is to combine world-class yoga with a Christ-honoring experience that offers an opportunity to believers and non-believers alike to authentically connect with God. We do this by integrating His Word, prayer, worship and the physical practice of yoga to contemporary and Christian music."

With their hair banded, barretted and bandeaued into place, 17 women of varying ages join two brave men for 90 minutes of this unique brand of yoga led by instructor Brooke Thompson in a room that's painted to resemble the interior of a submarine. Suffice to know, it's the exact exercise experience you'd expect if you know yoga. Tonight, we'll downward dog, strike the warrior and tree poses, form a bridge with our bodies and make like a pigeon see circulation loss, above.

All while Thompson exhorts and leads like a normal instructor.

Except for this, for starters: The class begins with a prayer.

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Yoga and prayer for full-body worship experience

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