On Sept, 23, I, along with approximately 60 members from the Japanese Christian Church of Christ, Salt Lake Buddhist Temple and Ogden Buddhist Temple, experienced yoga and oneness as a community.
The session at the Japanese Christian Church of Christ was held in conjunction with a fundraiser for the Maui Strong Fund. Bob Matsueda from the BCA’s Jodo Shinshu Center led us in a morning of yoga practice across faiths and ages.
It gave me great joy to see my aunt in her 90s as well as people in their 20s able to fully participate and feel a sense of well-being and peace. I have attended yoga classes before that sometimes left me feeling self-conscious about my lack of flexibility or balance, but this was completely different. I could tell first timers to yoga were “all in” and left wanting more.
On Sept. 24, Matsueda was the guest speaker for the Dharma School Ohigan service at the Ogden Buddhist Temple.
Matsueda focused his talk on “Yoga and Chanting.” Using the techniques of deep breathing in yoga, he connected it to our Buddhist practice of chanting and reciting the Nembutsu. I admit these often become rituals of habit I go through without much thought. Matsueda showed us, by coupling our breathing to both, the sound of my voice can resonate to my mind, heart and soul. What a wonderful gift to have the power of the Nembutsu vibrate through my being!
I saw so many connections between the goals of yoga and goals of myself as a Buddhist. Practices of letting go, a focused mind, heart and body, and becoming one with all life offers me Right Meditation, Right Thoughts, Right Mindfulness — practices needed in today’s world for both old and young alike.
We thank the Jodo Shinshu Center and especially Bob Matsueda for sharing his knowledge and time with us. We look forward to an ongoing friendship and relationship with him through future Zoom/in-person yoga sessions together.
Namo Amida Butsu.