What is a Christian Yogi?

A Christian Yogi?!

For centuries, Christianity’s exclusive beliefs have shunned the wisdom and practices of other spiritual traditions, claiming that spiritual nourishment could come only from the church. Jesus was never so closed-off in his thinking. Jesus’ spiritual openness is a model for us to be expansive, rather than contractive, in our spiritual sources.

More Than a Workout

Many people think of yoga as physically fit people contorting their bodies in hatha yoga poses. These exercises are one small piece of the art and science of yoga practice. Yoga means “union,” with God, with Life, with our higher Self.

The “Perennial Tradition” in spirituality refers to what is universally true about God and life. The Sanskrit name for this is “Sanatan Dharma.” Yoga is tuning into and practicing Sanatan Dharma, taught by Jesus and by saints of all religions.

Christianity and Yoga Meet

As an ordained Christian minister in the United Church of Christ, I practice yoga in this spirit, seeking to cultivate union with God, and to make manifest that union on earth (as Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”). In this journey, I have had many teachers, most notably Jesus Christ and Paramhansa Yogananda, who have been founts of inspiration on my spiritual walk.

Yogananda, who came to the United States in 1920 and taught here until his death in 1952, had a primary mission of uniting the best of East and West. Yogananda’s vision was to return an institutionalized, over-doctrinalized church back to what he called “Original Christianity.”

My Journey Toward Interspirituality

In 2006, I received initiation into the practice of “kriya yoga,” an ancient meditation technique in Yogananda’s path towards Self-Realization. For some time, I kept this part of myself relatively hidden. Only in recent years have I gathered up the courage to own my “interspiritual” identity. As I say in my “Giving Christianity Back to Agape Love” book:

 “Interspirituality” is not a watering down of Christianity, or a turning away from the message of Jesus. It is a recognition that God can work in and through anyone and can fill our cups with grace in the least expected of ways. Religion and spirituality are about tapping into what gives us life and sharing that with others.

Resources For Your Journey

For years I have offered meditation and contemplative practices in my local settings and at the church I serve, Agape Spiritual Community in Waltham. After sharing the gift of meditation through University Chaplaincy ministry for 10 years, I felt called to expand my sharing the gift of meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative practice with the wider church.  You can see those offerings on my resources page. I hope you find something in these pages that fills your spiritual cup.

Check Out Matt's Class Offerings

Join the Movement

A Christian Yogi is part of a growing movement of Christians who see Jesus’ spiritual openness as an invitation for us to be expansive, rather than contractive, in our own spiritual journeys.

By signing up for our monthly e-newsletter, you will receive news, reflections, meditations, and invitations from the forefront of this movement.