But is it Yoga?
IS IT YOGA? We get asked this a lot! We know the topic of "yoga" can be divisive in churches and so our aim is to navigate this topic leaving space for everyone's oppinion, while stating with confidence is what Psalms & Stretches is and what it isn't.
So... is Psalms & Stretches, yoga? The short, definitive, answer is no. Psalms & Stretches is not a yoga class. Psalms & Stretches is a movement class that uses a range of stretches and positions that the human body can do, choosing those that have clear benefits from a modern fitness perspective. You may recognise some shapes from yoga, some exercises from Pilates or general body conditioning or even dance - because there are many ways the body can move safely and effectively and we want to utilise everything God gave us, we don't think any stretch is off limits if God made it possible for our bodies! Here's the long answer too: Those interested in yoga will know that yoga is not just a physical practice, but it is a spiritual philosophy believed to have been written by an Indian sage thousands of years ago. There are eight "limbs" (aspects) of yoga and only one of them is about the physical practice. We think those who study yoga would agree that yoga is more than just the physical movements. We seek not to reduce yoga to some shapes the body can make, nor to appropriate from a culture that is not our own. Therefore, it is with a respectful distance that we say Psalms & Stretches is not yoga. Neither is it claiming to be a Christian version of yoga, or even "Christian Yoga" (which already exists, should you be looking for that). You won't find yoga terminology used in our classes or the term yoga on anything we write about ourselves.
In Psalms & Stretches, the intention of the movements are to stretch and strengthen the body based on modern fitness principals; movements are not prescribed for their own inherent good, their effect on internal organs, their deeper meaning or spiritual connotation. We move because our bodies were designed to move; it is part of self-expression, good stewardship and a way we can worship God. The spiritual practice of our class comes from praying, reading the bible and seeking to be closer to the Holy Trinity that is God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit. So, Psalms & Stretches is not a yoga class. But if you like yoga 👍 you might enjoy our style of class, so why not give it a go? 😀 All are welcome!
And if you wouldn't ever do yoga 👎 but want to exercise mindfully and bring God into your wellbeing practice... then why not give our class a go! All are welcome!
We hope that helps! Here's a clip of our BBC1 Sunday Morning Live feature where Nina Wadia asks us about yoga..