Spiritual based yoga class offered at church

The+pastor+of+First+Congregational+Church+of+Western+Springs%2C+pictured+above%2C+hosts+yoga+classes+that+hope+to+connect+spirituality+and+activity.+%28WS+Congregational+Church+Website%29%29
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Spiritual based yoga class offered at church

The pastor of First Congregational Church of Western Springs, pictured above, hosts yoga classes that hope to connect spirituality and activity. (WS Congregational Church Website))

The pastor of First Congregational Church of Western Springs, pictured above, hosts yoga classes that hope to connect spirituality and activity. (WS Congregational Church Website))

The pastor of First Congregational Church of Western Springs, pictured above, hosts yoga classes that hope to connect spirituality and activity. (WS Congregational Church Website))

The pastor of First Congregational Church of Western Springs, pictured above, hosts yoga classes that hope to connect spirituality and activity. (WS Congregational Church Website))

Anna McCormick, Reporter

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Pastor Katherine Willis Pershey, while studying to be a yoga teacher, created a Faith and Flow yoga class last spring to help people reduce stress, build strength and flexibility, and deepen their spirituality.

“The Faith and Flow class is especially beneficial for people who identify as Christians who want to integrate their yoga practice with their faith,” Pershey said. “Even though yoga emerged from a Hindu culture, it is a practice and philosophy, not a religion.”

Pershey teaches vinyasa style yoga, which connects breath with gentle movement. She offers modifications for beginners and variations for more advanced yogis.

“Each week is a little different, but we always warm up, do some standing sequences, lots of stretching, and close with savasana, which is a deeply relaxing pose that allows you to soak up the benefits of the practice,” Pershey said. “People say they leave feeling much better than they came in, which is always nice to hear.”

Allen Launspach ‘79 and Jane Freedlun-Wareham ‘79 have been following Pershey’s ascent to becoming a certified yoga teacher and attend her classes.

“I like how she combines aspects of spirituality with the physical practice,” Launspach said. “We often take breathing for granted, so it is nice to connect with your breath.”

The Faith and Flow class takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays in the chapel of the First Congregational Church of Western Springs, Pershey said.

An additional class on Sundays at 4 p.m. was added called Yoga for Youth, but they found not many teenagers attended so the class was opened to all age groups.

Both classes are open to those 13 years and older, but minors must have a waiver signed by a guardian, Pershey said. The class is free and open to church members as well as non-church members.

The church also offers Tai Chi classes, regular Labyrinth walks and has a parish nurse who does community health care work.

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