Neither religion nor just hamstrings
To the Editor:
All of us at the Atma Center rejoiced after receiving news that we were named the Best Place to Express Your Spirituality in the 2012 FutureHeights Best of the Heights awards. Then we imagined some might wonder why a yoga school won in this category, dominated by nominations for churches and synagogues.
Yoga, in its currently most visible form, highlights fancy postures, long complicated routines and sweaty bodies. But this is just one small aspect of yoga in the legacy of this ancient 1,000-plus-year-old practice. At the Atma Center, students have a wide range of experiences.
Begining students move their bodies gently, joint-by-joint, increasing their body awareness. Progressing slowly, more advanced students learn powerful breathing and meditation techniques that increase more subtle awareness of the spirit.
Yoga is not a religion; it is welcoming of all religions. Through their yoga practice, our Christian students say they feel closer to Jesus while our Hindu students connect more deeply with Brahman, Shiva, or other deities to whom they are personally drawn. Further, the practices taught are centered around the belief that we are more than our physical bodies, and that when we get our bodies comfortable and our minds quiet, we can experience that eternal spark of life within us.
The Atma Center would like to thank all of the community members who recognized this element of our teaching, and we extend our warmest invitation to all those who are seekers, no matter what physical shape you might be in, to explore this ancient science of life.
Omkar Olga Chwa
Omkar Olga Chwa
Yoga instructor and staff member at Atma Center in Cleveland Heights