Yoga class at Episcopal church is a meeting of traditions

A woman practices the crow yoga pose
A woman practices the crane pose. (Image © Matt Madd via Flickr,

It may seem contradictory that St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral hosts a yoga class — a practice that began from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. But church rector Rev. Steve Thomason wouldn’t agree.

“We try to find expression in our given time,” he said.

Cathedral Yoga is every Sunday evening from 6-7 p.m. According to the church’s website, the purpose of these classes are to improve health, release tension, and deepen spirituality.

In modern Western society, many consider yoga a sport that people perform to stay in shape. But it possesses a deeper philosophy originating from traditions in India.

The practice involves physical exercise and stretching, and the goal is to achieve harmony between the mind and body.

Thomason finds similarities between the goals of yoga and Episcopal practice.

“It is a Christian tradition to use your body for worship,” Thomason said. “The body is a gift to be celebrated, as it was created as a part of goodness. Yoga creates a union between mind, body and soul.”

Clementine Rae, a certified teaching instructor at Bikram Yoga in the University District, said the benefits of yoga go deeper than just staying in physical shape.

“A lot of people come for the physical workout, I personally practice for emotional and mental health,” Rae said. “I haven’t found anything better. I would cure anything I’m dealing with with yoga.”