I went to a yoga class today and at the part of class where we say namaste I caught myself saying Amen.
I blame it on the teacher’s voice which was low and poetically inclined. And when he spoke at the end I started spacing out a little and what I heard in my head was a prayer.
Also the idea had been planted in my head before class even started. My friend who invited me along convinced me by saying, I think you’ll like it. It’s kind of like church. (Yes this is a good way to get me to go to yoga class with you; tell me it is like church.)
Sometimes people get in a huff about yoga being spiritual. Look, yoga can be whatever you want it to be. It can be exercise. It can be whatever.
But for me, yoga is like church. And I don’t mean that it’s about god (although maybe it could be about god). I mean, even church isn’t necessarily about god. Sometimes church is about coffee and donuts and choir gossip and catching up with the neighbors. Church is a place where you sell things. Church is a place where you ask for money. It’s a place where you can be with other people in silence. It’s a place you complain about going to but go anyway. It’s a place where people congregate and chant and anoint rooms with incense.
I recently read an article about how young people don’t go to church anymore. And from the people I know I would say that that’s true. But I also think that church gave us something essential that had to do with community and quiet and ritual and meaning. And without church that void will be filled by something else. Yoga, a club, a gym, a right-wing chat room, a local coffee shop.
Wherever you light your candles and anoint your doors–that’s your church now.