Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Jesuit Yogi

I was excited to have a chance to listen to my friend and brother Jesuit Bobby Karle, SJ, on a podcast entitled "The Jesuit Yogi."

In the past, I have written on the topic of the compatibility between the practice of Catholicism and the practice of yoga. It has now been several years since I wrote explicitly on this topic and it may be worth revisiting in the future.

I'll admit: the podcast starts out a bit rocky - the interviewer clearly doesn't know very much at the outset of the Society of Jesus, or Catholic religious life, but Bobby does a very nice job of responding to his questions in an accessible way. Bobby spent last summer doing a 200-hour yogi training program in San Francisco and discusses how he envisions incorporating this practice into his apostolic ministry.

There can be, in certain segments of the Catholic community, either a great suspicion of or outright hostility to the practice of yoga. This podcast may be helpful in listening to one person's thoughts on appropriating this practice into his own life of Christian discipleship.

While surely not intending to be offensive, I do bristle at the interviewer's line of "recovering Catholics." Some of his sentiments are pretty vapid and shallow, but they're reflective of a larger mood within the world. This is salvaged, at least, by Bobby's expression of desire at building bridges between the yoga studios bursting with young adults and the pews often empty of the same demographic. At minute 25:00, we hear this the planks of this bridge being put down as the interviewer shares from his experiences and those of his mother and says that his mother would be helped by a (one day) priest like Bobby.

Bobby and I worked together during the 2009-2012 school year, the year before he entered the Jesuit novitiate. I'm proud of the work that he has done and impressed with the way he, quite literally, embodies prayer. Bobby's concluding reflection about how, in the Eucharist, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus can flow into the way we share ourselves with one another through the practice of yoga is a wonderful insight into the relationship between Christianity and yoga.

Inquire Within Podcast: The Jesuit Yogi

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