My Lay Dominican Chapter is gearing up for St. Dominic's Feast Day. Today we watched a real live demonstration of St. Dominic's Nine Ways of Prayer. Afterwards, one of my "cloistered brothers" quipped, "It looks like Yoga!"
We all laughed and from now on St. Dominic's Nine Ways of Prayer will be known as Dominican Yoga. This led to a discussion of different ways of prayer. Brother James added an interesting concept that I never thought of before. Brother James remembered that at one time we had a volunteer that used to come to Mass with us. Afterwards, she lead us in some yoga exercises. This volunteered said that yoga was spiritual to her because she considered yoga led her to prayer. We didn't know what to think of that, but to be polite, we joined her. After all she volunteered to teach us yoga. She wasn't being paid.
So after Mass, Mary Jane led us in some yoga. We all laughed, especially at each other. But we were laughing together, helping each other, and sharing the experience. Brother James said that he tried doing yoga back in his cell, but it wasn't the same. In fact, he considered it a failure.
What was missing when Brother James was alone was the community. Also the timing. When we did the yoga after Mass, it did feel spiritual--like continuing our prayers after Mass. We were with our confreres and sharing the experience.
That's two of the four pillars of Dominican spirituality: prayer and community. We decided to baptize yoga and make it Christian. From now on our yoga will be known as Dominican Yoga, and St. Dominic's Nine Ways of Prayer are in it.