Dear Friends and Spiritual Companions,
I am excited to share the new beginning of our Ignatian Spirituality & Yoga community with an updated name, website, and approach!
First, I would like to express my heart-felt gratitude for your understanding, prayers, and support during this time of transition. It has certainly been a difficult time for so many as our lives have been dramatically impacted by the pandemic. I hope and pray that you are finding light and hope. As much as I missed corresponding and practicing with so many of you, it proved to be a fruitful time to step back from our programming and do some deeper work.
At the end of 2020, we decided to take a provisional pause in order to give our team some space to grow into new vocational endeavors and to discern how the Spirit was guiding us to proceed as an organization.
Personally, I completed my theology studies in California, moved to my home state of Michigan, was ordained a priest on June 12 with seven other Jesuits, and began my first priestly assignment at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. I am honored and excited to serve as a priest in this diverse parish community committed to a faith that does justice.
As a team, we engaged in a process of learning, discernment, and consultation in order to find the clarity we needed to move forward as an organization. After some months of dialogue, we decided on a number of updates to restart our outreach.
Some of our updates:
- Retired the trademarked name “Ignatian Yoga” and switched to “Ignatian Spirituality & Yoga” (ISY)
- Adopted an open-sourced model in which anyone can use the ISY new name. If so, please do so with humility and respect towards both traditions.
- Contracted Ashley Swanson to build a new website that we hope to be a fruitful resource for many. Ashley is amazing if you’re looking for a web designer.
- Implemented a new cost structure – all ISY program fees are now donation-based
- Updated the organizational model with Fr. Bobby (that’s me!) as the director of ISY
- Hired Monica Olide as the new Communications Coordinator
Why these updates?
- It became clear to our team that the former name did not accurately represent our vision and approach. Rather than trying to create a new spirituality or a new style of yoga, our intention is to respect the uniqueness of the Catholic and Dharmic traditions on their own, and skillfully bring them into dialogue.
- Instead of trying to create a name for ourselves or have a monopoly on all things Ignatian and Yoga, we strive to be a thought-leader and resource for practitioners and instructors. As time allows and the Spirit impels, we will offer experiences for people to learn about and practice Ignatian spirituality and Yoga.
- In the past, we looked to the market value of both Ignatian-based retreats and Yoga-based retreats as a model for our cost structure. Something didn’t feel right about putting a price tag on our offerings. At the same time, we do want to compensate those who offer their skills to our organization and programs. Although our ability to offer ongoing programs and resources will require financial support, we trust that those who find value in our offerings will help keep it going. Thank you for your support!
I would like to thank Alan Haras, Nicki Nelson, Carolyn Swabek, and Pat Cassidy who served as the Ignatian Yoga Core Team. They have been remarkable collaborators and have become a very special community of friends. They will all continue to be involved in this new iteration of the ministry as members of the Advisory Team as they continue their other vocational commitments.
I am also deeply grateful to the Midwest Jesuit Province which has allowed me to dedicate so much of my Jesuit formation to this ministry and has provided financial support, both for my Jesuit and Yoga formation as well as funding for the ISY organization.
Of course, these resources are only possible because of generous benefactors like yourselves. Thank you for the ways you have supported the Church, the Jesuits, and the Ignatian Spirituality & Yoga organization.
I hope you enjoy the new website that will continue to take shape in the coming weeks and months.
I look forward to practicing Ignatian Spirituality & Yoga with you very soon!
Peace and blessings,
Fr. Bobby Karle, SJ