Can yoga become a Christian form of prayer? Huntsville yogi Lori Smith says ‘yes’

by Kay Campbell  |  published on October 30, 2014

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To the quiet rhythm of women breathing at the same relaxed pace in a sun-filled room, Lori Smith opens her Bible to Psalm 143:8. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you,” Smith reads in the New International Version translation. “Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life.”

“Lord, we are loving you with all of who we are,” Smith said, continuing the prayer as she checks the yoga poses of the seven women on their mats in the Carriage House of First Presbyterian Church in Huntsville. “Prayer,” she reminds them, “can be in three forms: Speaking to God, listening for God and just being together.”

The 90 minutes of yoga this Tuesday morning will end with some minutes of contemplative prayer. All of the yoga poses and breathing and the readings and prayers that Smith intersperses during the practice lead to those moments of quiet.

But, wait a minute. Yoga at church? Yoga – which was developed by Hindus, some say as postures of prayer to Hindu gods – for Christians as a way of prayer? Christians moving their bodies in prayer?