DOMRADIO.DE: Why do yoga and religion go so well together?
Pia Wick (Director of the Sela Institute for Christian Yoga): We just heard a song and it said “Feel it in your body” – feel it on your body that you are a being. The bible is full of physical references and my husband is a theologian. In a major life crisis, we realized that soul grief alone is not enough for the head, but that the body must join. So we went in search of the body in the Bible.
Yoga is a technique where you come to rest where you just feel. “Feel it in your body” – You are a being. As a result, grief and the word of the Bible can gain even more weight. I can perceive it even more, feel it even more when I take my body in. All the positive promises found in the Bible must also be anchored in the body. Then man can be a holistic Christian and also be healed and healed holistically, just as the Bible promises.
DOMRADIO.DE: Originally in India, the people’s primary religion was Hinduism. Here in Germany Christianity. Although yoga mainly comes from India, so you say it can be combined?
Wick: Yes, it can definitely be combined. The yoga techniques are amazing. These yoga techniques come from India, but they have been associated with European practices. This goes back to the time of the colonization of India. The English rejected the yoga exercises, which were really stiff, rigorous and also brutal, which actually made the body desensitized, and took over exercises from Peter Ling for himself.
Peter Ling was a gymnastics teacher in Sweden who developed gymnastics as we know it. From this comes the candle, the cat’s hump, the horse’s back. These are all exercises that we know and then flowed into yoga.
DOMRADIO.DE: How did the idea of founding your own institute for Christian yoga come about?
Wick: I have been teaching Christian yoga in small groups for about ten years and now it was just time to make it more accessible to more people and we also wanted to create education so that more people could do Christian yoga.
DOMRADIO.DE: You also want to train Christian yoga teachers at your institute in the future. What are your priorities?
Wick: These are the biblical references. I am the temple of the Holy Ghost. I am the creature of God. I am wonderfully created with my bodies. These are, for example, priorities. And then there is the practice of gratitude. How do I handle my body, my limits, my strengths in everyday life? All are focal points.
DOMRADIO.DE: What does it look like in practice on your courses when people want to do Christian yoga with you? How do participants gain access to their faith here?
Wick: We try to interpret the embodiment in a Christian way. At the beginning of each yoga class, there is a Bible verse that we embody. We feel into this bible verse and we try to implement it, physically implement it. This can then go into pastoral practice without having to name your subject. But these are promises that are good for the body, the mind and the soul.
DOMRADIO.DE: There will be yoga service once a month. Does it include, for example, Katzenbuckel, or the sun salutation? Does everyone sit with crossed legs on yoga mats or in their favorite position? What makes the service so special?
Wick: Yes exactly, everyone is sitting on their yoga mats. Of course, there are also people who are very happy to sit on the chair. But it is about praising God with all the senses and perceiving God, feeling how to be held fast and supported. There is also a sermon, but the sermon is very physical, translated into exercises. This will not be the sun salutation, for it is meant to appeal to all people, of all ages. But there will always be a physical implementation.
DOMRADIO.DE: But does that mean that what you are offering is not just for Christians?
Wick: No not at all. It is here for everyone, for all denominations, for all ages, for those who are far from the church and those who are close to the church.
DOMRADIO.DE: Your offer of Christian yoga is a special way of dealing with the Christian faith. Why do you think it fits so well with time?
Wick: I think we all realize that we are all isolated by Corona, we are all on our own and confronted with ourselves. It is wonderful when we physically feel the encouragement that God gives us.
I also offer online classes so that anyone who is in quarantine right now or traveling alone and who is unable to attend classes can practice Christian yoga at home in front of the screen. New courses start next week. You can read about it on the website.
The interview was conducted by Katharina Geiger.