Cathedrals and yoga mats

Last night I went to one of my favorite spaces in the whole world to do yoga in: Grace Cathedral, at the top of Nob Hill in San Francisco. Every Tuesday evening they host Labyrinth Yoga, a donation-based class that's open to all faiths, all ages, and all levels.

I used to live just a few blocks away, and this class was my regular Tuesday outing, particularly while I was unemployed and the donation-based aspect of the class appealed to me even more. When I finally got an offer for a job in London last July, I went to the class one last time and made a huge donation, to make up for all the previous times I'd attended and couldn't.

It's such a gorgeous space. While the cathedral was only completed in 1964 (and therefore doesn't exactly have history to compete with the ancient cathedrals of Europe), its modernity almost works in its favor. There are 20th century mosaics and stained glass windows that depict everyone from Adam & Eve to Albert Einstein and astronaut John Glenn. This being San Francisco, there is also an interfaith AIDS chapel, a tribute to the 19,400 San Franciscans who have died of AIDS, and the many more currently living with the disease.

I've missed these classes. Sure, they're not the toughest yoga classes I've ever taken, and they do get super crowded. At least 300 people show up each week, and you're lucky to just find space for your mat. 

But ohhhhh, it's beautiful. High ceilings make the instructor's voice - and the final chanted "Oms" sung by hundreds of people at once - echo beautifully. There are always live musicians, which add to the atmosphere. The lighting is soft. And I just love that it's open to all - yes, it's a Christian space, but yoga is for everyone, and I love that the cathedral welcomes that. Just because we feel and think differently shouldn't mean we can't come together and practice together and experience together from time to time.

And last night, I felt very grateful for that.