We know you have questions, and we wish we could sit down with you personally right now to have a conversation about each and every one of them. Seriously. We LOVE talking about this stuff. And perhaps we’ll have just that opportunity on our next retreat! But until then, we’ve provided some answers to the questions we get most often below. If you don’t see your question here, we’d love to hear from you.

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

  • We are created to be in relationship with God 
  • Indifference to earthly materials and ambitions
  • Trust that God works within all situations
  • Choose what leads to a deepening of relationship with God 

Freedom and Detachment

  • Freedom from whatever keeps us from fullness of life
  • Freedom for service, love, relationship with God & all creation

 Discernment of Spirits 

  • Awareness of interior movements and identification of their source
  • Choosing the greater good between two or more “goods” 
  • Which option leads to greater hope, love, freedom, connection, life?

Finding God in All Things 

  • Nothing is outside the purview of the spiritual life 
  • God works through your passions, desires, gifts, joys
  •  Find deep meaning in the everyday world around you

Contemplative in Action 

  • Reflection for active people engaged in world 
  • Seeks restful places of peace and challenging work of reconciliation & justice

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (AMDG) (For the Greater Glory of God)

  • Strive for the Magis = the more, greater good, greater depth
  • Embrace a new way of being, loving, living
  • Longing and yearning for what is beyond you  

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:

  • Oneness, integration, connection of that which is separate
  • Uniting our mind (consciousness) with the mind of God 
  • Aims to unite all aspects of our being: our inner, spiritual life and relationships with others 

“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


First Week 

Second Week

Third Week

Fourth Week 

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.

  • Interreligious dialogue and the dialogue of spiritual practice (such as the one between  Yoga philosophy and Ignatian spirituality) has an established history in Catholic Christianity,  especially since Vatican II. In the Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate), specifically in the section on Hinduism and Buddhism, it  states:  
  • The Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She  regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those  precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from  the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that  Truth which enlightens all [people]…The Church, therefore, exhorts her [children], that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found  among these [people]. (2)  
  • Within the Society of Jesus, there is also a rich tradition of interreligious dialogue. This was  eloquently described during the 34th General Congregation held in Rome in 1995:  The Jesuit legacy of creative response to the call of the Spirit in concrete life situations is a motive for the development of a culture  of dialogue in our encounters with believers from other religions. This  culture must become a specific mark of our Society, which is sent forth to the whole world to work for the greater glory of God and to help human beings. (442) 

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:

  • Opening prayer
  • Talk by the instructor 
  • Asana practice
  • Yoga nidra
  • Ignatian contemplation
  • Meditation
  • Silent reflection
  • Sharing

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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