SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Every day, people across San Francisco stream into chic yoga studios. But once a week at Grace Cathedral, there’s a yoga gathering unlike any other.
“It seems very imposing in one way, but in reality it has a magnetic quality that is observable. We can see that people are attracted here,” said Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California.
Every Tuesday night at Grace Cathedral, spiritual worlds collide. Surrounded by Gothic revival architecture and sacred Christian ornaments, you’ll find what might be the most popular yoga class in San Francisco.
“They’ve counted up to 700 people, on some occasions,” Andrus said.
“They’re doing an ancient Eastern practice, in a Christian church, and there’s a pagan labyrinth,” said yoga instructor Darren Main.
It’s an eclectic mix of religion, resonant music and designer yoga gear. And every week, the cathedral steals the show.
“I’m not Christian, but it’s very healing, very spiritual. It has that ethereal quality about it you know,” one student said.
“A lot of what we’ve done is structure the class around the cathedral itself. So we simply stop and meditate when the bells go off at 7. It’s sort of like a call to prayer, a call to mindfulness,” Main said.
The practice of yoga might pre-date Christianity by as many as two thousand years. But once a week, for about one hour, the two spiritual paths merge together.
“You could say that yoga and the Episcopal Church are simply two profound expressions of this impulse that seems to be born into us,” Andrus said.
“It’s amazing. It’s exactly what yoga should be, and in my view, exactly what religion and spirituality should be,” Main said.
“Yoga in the Labyrinth” is held on Tuesday evenings. If you plan on going – you should know the floor space fills up almost an hour early.