this is the story of how DoxaSoma started…
It was a beautiful day and as I looked out the large plate glass window of the exercise room at my gym. I saw the wind blowing gently through the spring trees. I was early for my yoga class. I took out my mat and spent a few moments stretching, getting ready for the teacher to arrive. I had always liked this teacher, Traci. I knew what to expect from her. Her knowledge of the body was great and she was often careful not to couch the class in what I called “yoga-ese.” One thing she did do at each class however was chant. At the end of each class they would chant. The first time I attended the class I was taken by surprise, everyone else seemed to know about this part and gladly participated. I was not comfortable with it, so I just prayed silently to myself.
On this day, before anyone else arrived I spent some time in prayer as I stretched. I noticed the tight muscles in my back and in my legs. I prayed for the people who would attend this class, I prayed for the teacher and then when I looked up I began to see people arrive. Some were familiar faces, some were not. The room began to fill and I looked around earnestly for Traci. Instead, Helen entered the room and explained that she would be taking the class that day.
We launched into a few poses after a brief warm-up and Helen gave some background on the poses, talked about the energy changes we might feel. She spoke about our diets; how we should interact with the “universe” and that we should seek self-awareness, find the “inner god” in ourselves.
I listened to what she had to say as if I was visiting a foreign land and had to translate into my own language. It was exhausting. It was not merely that the terms she used were unfamiliar to me but also that I disagreed with the concepts she presented. After that, I found it harder and harder to engage in class. Finally, one week, Helen showed up at class again as the instructor. Traci would no longer be teaching that class, she had other obligations. And I left the class.
I took other classes and had varying experiences; I looked for a video that I could use at home. I craved the physical connection to my body and the vast benefits of a good stretching and strengthening program but I did not want to submit myself to the spiritual teaching of the classes I was attending. I found a couple of videos I liked but it wasn’t the same. There was something about being in a group of people that was appealing to me.
I looked in vain for a “Christian” yoga class but could not find one. I began to research the practice of yoga and saw an interesting confirmation of what I already knew. The practice of yoga was not consistent with my practice of Christianity. The narratives they followed were conflicting. When I was instructed to look for self-empowerment I remembered that I want to know the God is in charge, not me. While some were examining the finer points of self-realization I wanted to realize myself in Christ. My faith asks that I submit myself to God through the person of Jesus Christ under the authority of the Holy Spirit. I am called to be that specific.
One night at home as I was stretching I began to pray and I felt the strongest desire to stand up. I moved into a position that I now call “standing dove” and a verse came to me, “Oh that I had the wings of the dove I would fly away and be at rest!” I thought, “I had better write this down.”
At that moment I discovered something that liturgical dancers have known for ages…the encountering of God in movement. I saw this program as part dance, part flexibility training, part strength training and all prayer and worship. I began to write down positions as they came to me, always looking at the spiritual implications and physical benefits of each movement. To date, there are over 70 positions of strength and flexibility in DoxaSoma, all are rooted firmly in scripture and woven together with prayer and thanksgiving to God.
There are spiritual implications in everything we do. As Christians we are instructed to find God in everything we see and do, everything we experience. The goal of DoxaSoma is to find God in the every day, in the working out, in the dance…and to praise Him for His work in us…to praise Him because He is worthy, because He is God