Marin moms, are you listening?! Beloved Marin yoga teacher, Christopher Love, has teamed up with the Church of St. John’s in Ross to offer pay-what-you-can Vinyasa Yoga classes Monday nights at 6.15pm with FREE CHILDCARE! To boot, the classes feature live music, with yoga and meditation on their ornately painted labyrinth lit by candlelight. The experience is quite special.
We paid them a visit last week to experience it for ourselves. On a quiet side street just off of Sir Francis Drake, you enter the space through a front garden, and there is an immediate feeling of peace and calm. The ceilings are vaulted and the room octagonal so the music vibrates throughout the room and upwards. The music is different every week, but today Kendra Faye plays the harp and sings in a beautiful falsetto along with the heavenly sounds of Christopher’s singing bowls. Adjoining the yoga room is a playroom for kids, staffed by the church, so little ones are not too far away.
I ask St. John's Reverend, Ginger Strickland, about the significance of the labyrinth. She tells me, ‘Our labyrinth is a version of the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. We love our labyrinth for the beautiful intricacy of its design, for the way it invites us to the center of the space and of ourselves.’ Ginger initially started practicing yoga for exercise. However, after some time with it, she found it to be helpful in her spiritual life. ‘I came away from classes less anxious and more prepared to enter deeply into prayer and meditation.’
She wanted to introduce a yoga program for the church, to invite any member from the community to participate. And Christopher, with his precise body cues and just the right amount of wisdom woven into his classes, could speak to anyone from children to the elderly, beginning yogis to advanced. ‘I felt that he taught in a way that really invited spiritual engagement and growth in a way that was accessible for people of all religious traditions. And I was noticing how many people in Marin might be ambivalent about church, but really connected spiritually through yoga.…our goal as a church is to invite people to meet the Divine as they understand it in the midst of life - not just on Sunday mornings, but whenever people are gathered seeking something larger than themselves.’
Christopher Love, who teaches regularly at Yogaworks, seemingly knows as much about anatomy as he does about spirituality. It’s rare that I leave his classes without an ‘aha’ moment both in my physical practice as well as in my life. Having led music-based yoga programs at various locations around the Bay for years, he also has a rich community of musicians. I asked him if he felt a difference between teaching in a church versus yoga studio. ‘While some studio teachers offer an intention in their classes, churches are places dedicated to devotional life...It is my hope that all who come through our doors leave feeling more connected, mindful and present, and that they may bless our community at large with their peace.’
To find out more about Yoga St. John’s, as well as for a list of their musicians, please visit their website here.
And for more about Christopher Love, please visit his website here.
Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Love
Post written for SFYogaMag.com