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Movement-Based Spirituality

The Pres House Dojo

Dojo is a Japanese word that can be translated as “a place of the way.” Martial arts and meditation practice often take place in a dojo; the focus is on experiential learning. At Pres House, our dojo is a space for various movement-based spiritual practices.

Spiritual formation in churches often emphasizes words and thoughts with a focus on saying or believing the “right thing.” Our bodies are often ignored, forgotten, or even viewed with suspicion. In this way, faith can become a disembodied experience, especially when theologies treat certain people’s bodies (queer, female, BIPOC) as suspect and needing to be controlled.

A different way to approach spiritual formation starts with the conviction that we are created in God’s image as good, trusting that the Spirit is moving and at work in our very being. In this way, we are invited to listen to the wisdom of our bodies and practice moving in a way that shapes us into more loving, just, and faithful people.

It is through practice that we are transformed, because the things we do over and over become embedded in our very muscles and tissues. We cannot simply think our way into becoming more compassionate, peaceful, and courageous people; we repeatedly move our way into embodying the fruits of the Spirit.

The Pres House Dojo is part of Pastor Erica’s grant project, “Moving Our Way Toward Healing, Justice, and Hope: Somatic Spiritual Formation.” We are grateful to the Louisville Institute for their partnership and support!

Remove your shoes before stepping onto the mat.
There is a shoe rack on the right side of the room where you can store them. Bags and other belongings can be placed next to the shoe rack or on the window benches. No food or beverages should be taken onto the mat.

Make sure your phone is silenced and put away.
The dojo is a place to be fully present in our bodies; we put screens away so that we and others are not distracted. If you need to text or call, please step outside of the dojo to use your phone.

Close the doors.
Make sure to fully close the doors behind you to minimize distractions inside and outside the dojo.

Keep the dojo clean.
There is special equipment to clean the mats; if you sweat on the mat, use the cleaner to wipe it down. Make sure that items are put away and the dojo is kept tidy.

a space for movement-based spiritual practice

Here are some of the ways to come explore movement-based spiritual practice this semester in the Pres House Dojo:

Led by Erica & Evan

Each week we will play with different, gentle movements and meditation to practice listening to our bodies’ wisdom and embodying the spiritual commitments important to us. Weekly participation is encouraged as each week builds upon the previous one.

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:00–6:30pm; Sundays 10:00-11:30am

Pastor Erica is one of the instructors with the Madison Choi Taekwondo Club, a student organization on campus. Classes are generally held in the Student Activity Center, one of the Unions, and occasionally in the Pres House Dojo on the second floor. The schedule can be found here. This semester, class will be at Pres House on the following Tuesdays & Thursdays, 5:00–6:30pm:

May 28, 30
June ~ all Thursdays
July 2, 23, 25, 30
August ~ all Tuesdays & Thursdays

Curious to hear what students’ experiences are? Check out this video of students Kevin and Sam.

Sabbath is an embodied practice, and what better way to do that than take a nap!
College students are among the most sleep-deprived population. Most of us need 7-9 hours a sleep each night, but this isn’t always possible with college life. Napping can be a great mid-day boost, whether it is an hour or two deep break, or a 20 minute snooze! Drop in the dojo for a break–blankets, pillows, eye masks, ear plugs provided.

When the dojo is not in use, you can check with staff members to see if it’s available for individual meditation and movement practice. Please observe dojo etiquette even if you are alone in the dojo.

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