Ignatian Yoga is grounded in an experience, an encounter. Our programs are about creating and holding spaces to engage in practices that encourage us to enter into greater stillness and enable us to listen deeply to ourselves. And in that deep listening to our emotions and desires, our interior movements as St. Ignatius calls them, to encounter God and see how we are being called in our lives. This personal experience is then enriched by insights about the spiritual journey from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as well as Yoga philosophy.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a foundational text of Yoga, asana, or the physical poses, and pranayama, breathwork, are only two of the eight “limbs of yoga.” And so while the poses and breathwork can certainly offer particular practices of embodiment that is central to yoga, and thus to Ignatian Yoga, we are not merely using the poses as an entrance into “embodied prayer.” Ignatian yoga is about engaging with the larger school of philosophy that makes up the yoga path to samadhi (union with God, bliss), and bringing this tradition in its fullness into conversation with Ignatian Spirituality.
As an organization, it is vital to us that we are engaging in this in a respectful, responsible, non-oppressive way that honors the contexts and depths of both traditions. We don’t want to mis-appropriate or essentialize either tradition. We are in ongoing conversations with experts and deep practitioners in both Ignatian Spirituality and Yoga to help us in this task. And we consistently ask ourselves: How do we increasingly understand both traditions in terms of their historical and contemporary application — history and tradition, theology, anthropology, epistemology?
We are also aware that in the West, yoga has attracted a mainly affluent and white community of practitioners. Ignatian Yoga is committed to building a diverse community of teachers and practitioners.
We are currently a ministry of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).