EL2010 presenter sees connectedness of all life through yoga

January 14, 2010

“Sadly, we live in a world which often demands much of the mind but neglects the body or overuses the body and wastes the mind,” says Indira Allegra, workshop leader at PSR’s 2010 Earl Lectures and Leadership Conference later this month. “The issue with that separation between mind and body is that it is a lie.” The practice of yoga, on the other hand, strives to unite the two. “After all, the word yoga means to yoke or to bind, and in this practice, we create a space that the mind and body will want to be in partnership with each other,” Allegra says.

Those who have taken yoga classes at a gym may be familiar with the physical benefits of stretching and breathing exercises but less so with its sacred emphasis. “When we practice the asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath-centered meditation), we engage in a spiritual practice because we are positioning ourselves within the present moment,” Allegra says. Attention to the here-and-now cultivates awareness and clarity—characteristics vital to following a spiritual path.

That mindfulness extends beyond the mat, she explains. “Spiritual practice is actually a way of life, something that cannot be separated from your daily activities,” Allegra says. “It has to do with seeing your connectedness to all things, and undergoing the work of the heart in order to care about what is happening to people who live different lives than our own. With yoga, the goal is to be able to meet our lives with the same equanimity and compassionate focus on the self.” Attendees of her workshop can expect to explore those spiritual and physical practices while participating in this particular kind of yoga (January 27, 11 am--12:30 pm).

A wide variety of 20 workshops featuring leaders in theology, ministry, and education, including Allegra’s, are offered through PSR’s annual Earl Lectures and Leadership Conference. Workshops are open to the general public, those in all walks of social change and ministry, and clergy. Registration for the Leadership Conference workshops is $125. (There is no need to register to attend the lectures only, which are open to the public at no charge.)