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Ignatian Spirituality fosters greater awareness of God in the world and how one is called to live. Rooted in St. Ignatius’ relationship with Jesus, Ignatian Spirituality inspires people to seek interior freedom in order to more fully respond to their unique call and the needs of the world.
Some key components of Ignatian Spirituality are:
Principle and Foundation
Libertad y Desapego
Discernment of Spirits
Finding God in All Things
Contemplative in Action
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG) (For the Greater Glory of God)
The classical definition of yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is yogas-citta-vrtti-nirodhah (Yoga Sutra 1.2) meaning “Yoga is the restraint of movements in the mind.” (translation by Francis X. Clooney, SJ.)
Yoga can also be translated as “to yoke” or “to unite.” This can manifest as:
“The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. For centuries the Exercises were most commonly given as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in solitude and silence. In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Spiritual Exercises as a program for laypeople. The most common way of going through the Exercises now is a “retreat in daily life,” which involves a monthslong program of daily prayer and meetings with a spiritual director. The Exercises have also been adapted in many other ways to meet the needs of modern people.” (IgnatianSpirituality.com)
Overview of the Spiritual Exercises
Principle and Foundation
Gratitude and awareness of God’s unconditional love
Developing a personal relationship with God
Compassion: to suffer with
A response of love and service
To be in relationship with God in all things
To strive for the inner freedom and detachment
To choose what leads to God’s deepening life in me.
Deep sense of God’s loving acceptance of me just as I am
I meditate on who I am as a creature, sinner, child of God.
To know Jesus intimately, to love him intensely, follow him more closely.
I ask: What is my calling and how fully am I living it?
Grace: To experience, sorrow, anguish, grief with Jesus in his Passion.
A long look at passionate detachment in action.
Grace: Knowledge and gratitude of blessings. In all things to love and serve.
Total dedication and obedience to God.
Yoga has its roots in Vedic India, and is one of the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy. It’s a tradition that predates but has deep connections to Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The classic text of traditional yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, describes the eight limbs of yoga. Yoga means the path to union or oneness. It is the uniting of that which is perceived to be separate, including Creator and creation. In ancient India, a person would be guided by a guru. Many different gurus and schools of yoga flourished in South Asia over the centuries. Gurus brought yoga to the West in the 19th & 20th centuries.
This is a question and concern we take very seriously. The ISY team has been engaged in learning, dialogue, and consultation. We strive to proceed with deep respect, sensitivity, humility, and appreciation in engaging the Christian and yoga traditions. While we acknowledge that yoga has been misappropriated and used in ways that lack respect and appreciation of the cultural roots, we believe anyone and everyone can benefit from this ancient wisdom and practice.
We believe it is. We think it is important to be educated about both traditions and practice Yoga with respect and prudence. We believe that we should neither reject everything that it not traditionally Christian nor accept everything. We encourage you to practice discernment, and we hope the following resources support you in that process.
An ISY class consists of a talk from the instructor with elements of Ignatian spirituality and Yoga philosophy, an asana (physical movement) practice, pranayama (breathwork), and a guided Ignatian contemplation. Depending on the length of the class, there is often time for silent reflection, small group and/or large group sharing.
The common elements of an ISY session:
An ISY retreat is a beautiful opportunity to deepen your contemplative practice in a community of friends. A typical retreat weekend includes five ISY sessions integrating themes of the Spiritual Exercises and Yoga. There is also time for spiritual conversation with the retreat directors, silent reflection, small group sharing, and morning and evening meditations.
We hope anyone who is open to experiencing Ignatian spirituality and Yoga will deepen their spiritual life and find renewal in Ignatian Yoga spaces. If you are not Christian, we hope Ignatian Yoga will support you to deepen in your own tradition. If you are not religious, our intention is for this space to be nurturing for you as well. On retreats, all are welcome to take part in as much or little of the weekend as you are comfortable.
ISY does not currently offer a teacher training or certification.
We hope anyone using the names Ignatian/ Ignatian spirituality/ Jesuit and Yoga will do so with great respect, knowledge, and sensitivity to both the Catholic and Dharmic traditions.
All ISY programs are currently donation-based. When we host programs at retreat centers or locations that require a facilities fee, there will be a fee to pay the host location. All required fees will go directly to the host location. If you are interested and able to donate to ISY, you are welcome to make a donation through our donation page. Your donations will help us pay our staff and instructors, improve our technology and resources, and continue to offer accessible programs in diverse communities.
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