Skip to comments.Yoga in the spirit of faith (Diocesan newspaper presents yoga)
Posted on 07/26/2005 9:58:35 PM PDT by Coleus
Yoga in the spirit of faith
TFC PHOTOS BY LINDA REEVES
Carol Mastropietro lights a candle, turns the stereo on low and then begins to lull her students with a soft calming voice and some wisdom.
"Clear your mind. Let go of the outside world. Take a deep breath and feel the Holy Spirit come inside," said Mastropietro. "Tonight we are going to talk about people who suddenly leave our lives. Did you allow them to leave freely with light and love?"
Mastropietro, a parishioner of St. Thomas More Parish in Boynton Beach, is a trained and licensed Kripalu master. She also directs a ministry called "Yoga in the Spirit of Faith." Her ministry meets on Thursday evenings at St. Thomas More Parish's educational facility. Her ministry and Christian approach to Kripalu, a form of yoga that emphasizes proper breathing, alignment and movement, is aimed at helping people become physically and spiritually healthy in order to bring them closer to God and the healthy life the Creator has made for them.
"It is important to be able to quiet the mind and turn off the outside world," said Mastropietro, a yoga enthusiast for the past decade. "My purpose is to bring yoga into faith. It is a practice performed in class and off the mat."
Mastropietro's theory is simple: being quiet allows a person to create an inner sanctuary, a place quiet enough to hear the Lord's voice. Studies also indicate that the ancient practice of yoga, which involves complete concentration and physical disciplines, tones the body, reduces anxiety, normalizes blood pressure, reduces pain, prevents insomnia, eliminates addictive behavior, improves self-esteem and sharpens abilities.
"Some people think yoga is way out there," said Mastropietro. "My program is faith-based. I want to help people learn the joys and the benefits of yoga and show people that it is not a strange practice."
Mastropietro wants to promote the faith-based yoga class to other parishes. At this point, about 15 people take the class at St. Thomas More.
Mastropietro's passion for yoga began in 1995 at a time when her own life was rocked with an array of difficult personal challenges.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer," Mastropietro said. "The doctor scheduled 25 radiation treatments for me and put me on a strict diet. I could not believe that everything was happening at once. I was drained of my energy and I could not sleep. Yoga relaxed my mind and helped me get through the tough times. It saved my life."
St. Thomas More parishioners Joan Patino and her mom, Liz Gill, participate in the weekly yoga classes at the parish.
"My mom led me here," said Patino. "It is a great class and I like being able to spend time with my mom."
Gill says that she likes working out with her daughter, too, and says she has benefited from the breathing techniques that she learned from the classes.
"Carol talks about breathing in the Holy Spirit and letting in the light. Breathing helps me have more energy."
The yoga gatherings are also a time for fellowship. Before and after classes, students chat about everyday life and issues, doctor's appointments and out-of-town guests. New students to the class are greeted and welcomed into the yoga circle.
"This is my first visit," said Sybil Anthony, who read about the program in a St. Thomas More parish bulletin.
"I took yoga many years ago and I loved it. I thought I would give it another try."
Yoga in the Spirit of Faith is for anyone who wants to learn how to tune out the world's frequency and tune up his or her body. The only requirements to take the classes are one must bring a towel or a mat and wear comfortable clothing.
Classes begin with a thoughtful reading that is briefly discussed and referenced during the class. The readings emphasize a message and perhaps shed new light on a past situation or circumstance.
Mastropietro says she was personally inspired as she read the June 30 meditation to her class:
"Have you ever been touched by people who are here today, gone tomorrow but never forgotten? Did you allow them to leave or did you mourn and suffer their loss for too long?"
She ended the class with a suggestion.
"Take peace and love out the door," said Mastropietro."Spread your sunshine and be Christ-like."
Yoga in the Spirit of Faith classes are held at 6 p.m. Thursdays at St. Thomas More Parish, 10935 S. Military Trail, Boynton Beach. For more information about this program or to arrange a program at your parish, call 561-374-8753.
Catholic contemplation is sorely lacking today.
It isn't ego-centric, but comes directly from God. Guess that's why it isn't practiced widely anymore.
Not "me" enough.
There are enough Catholic meditations and teachings that we do not need the false god of Hindunism creeping into our practices. I am Catholic and this alarms me very much.
I would suggest the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatious Loyola. I would also suggest reflections on the writings of the Bible and Catholic saints. If physical excercise is needed why not a aerobics class?
Yoga has way too many religious overtones to be acceptable in a Catholic Parish.
Well, I have heard of people just doing the Yoga exercises...and was interested to read if the spiritual message was truly from Christ. I believe that it could be...but, I don't see it in this article.
Why not read and concentrate on Biblical passages, in a church? Why not pray and ask in the name of Jesus that he come into their minds, and fill them with himself? Now, there would be a good start.
At least they are not allowing the "blue orbs" into their church, like a local "Christian" church here did:
Thanks, it was late at night and I forgot to post the contact info. I think they will hear from me today.
Whether it should be taught in a Catholic church is another matter. >>
that's the issue, Catholics have to realize there is God and the Devil, noting in between, your with Him or you're not.
What ever happened to a LONG conversation with God through Christ ?
He's the only One that will give you genuine peace of mind - not this crap. Reading the Bible is also good - look at the book of Job and your problems will be in proper perspective.
I had not seen that link. Thanks!
Sounds like they don't want to listen.
Next step -- vicar or diocese. Don't know where this is located in Florida, do you?
**Yoga has way too many religious overtones to be acceptable in a Catholic Parish.**
Thanks for the validation!
Unforotunately their website is being rebuilt. No messages can be left via email. Bah!
It is in the Diocese of Palm Beach. I am in the same Diocese and will Email the Bishop when I get a chance.
Thanks for clearing things up onthe topic of contemplative prayer and emptying of the mind.