Do you go to church? Well I don’t. Ever.
Correction: Never to pray, sometimes to do yoga 🙂
The Open Yoga project – organizing yoga sessions in churches – seemed at first odd to me, almost like a clash of cultures / philosophies. But then I thought about it more: it makes perfect sense to use churches for their original purpose: to bring people together and foster sharing in the community.
On Monday I went for the first time to an Open Yoga session, this time led by Olive Ssembuze of Yogalives, with whom I’ve practiced many times and written about a lot: post 1, post 2, soon more… But no, I’m not her stalker…yet 🙂
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I know Olive regularly teaches quite large groups in her studio, but this was a different animal: over 50 people of varying experience levels, packed in a huge space. Still, I didn’t really think she would compromise her signature style in this setting… and she didn’t!
This was all-level but not light practice. Slow and deep, we took our time for some good hip stretches, well-constructed warriors, planks and flowy vinyasas. Alignment and precision was at the centre of the class, which is what I know is “typical Olive”. Only thing I could’ve used more of: her no-BS humour – it was a bit tame 🙂
A new “feature” of this class and something I hadn’t experienced before was flowing through vinyasas while singing “om”‘s. It’s difficult to explain how it feels to have the vibrations vary in intensity with your movements, certainly something unique. As if this hadn’t been slightly weird in this church setting, we also closed the class with some proper chanting! The acoustics are obviously amazing in the church so there was something magical about having 50+ people chanting in Sanskrit in a Christian Protestant institution.
The mantra we sung (Om namah shivaya) is a call to respect ourselves and everyone else as divinities.
I liked that final note a lot and I think it fits very well the premise of this yoga “project”: each of us makes their own religion! ♥