Church History
Christian Yoga

Stories of Faith

Christian Yoga

On July 20, 1939, Otakar Vojkůvka and his stepdaughter, Valeria Kudelova, were the last to be baptized in the Czechoslovak Mission before the start of World War II. Soon, all North American missionaries were evacuated from Europe.

After World War II, the Communist Party came to power in Czechoslovakia. In 1950, foreign missionaries were again expelled, and Church members were forced to meet in secret. Their contact with Church leaders outside the country was limited.

Under Communist rule, members found creative ways to share the gospel. After his manufacturing business was confiscated, Otakar Vojkůvka developed an interest in yoga. On weekends, Vojkůvka and his family taught “Christian yoga” classes in many cities. Blending traditional yoga exercises with principles found in Latter-day Saint scripture, they taught that men and women were created “that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).

The meetings soon drew the attention of local authorities. His classes and the summer camp he and student-convert Olga Kovářová operated were occasionally raided. “Be careful,” one government report concluded. “This man has a great influence on young people.” A curious neighbor asked Vojkůvka why so many young people visited his home each week. “We learn to be happy,” he answered.

As many as 130 of Vojkůvka and Kovářová’s students joined the Church. Many shared the gospel through yoga lectures throughout the country. After attending a yoga camp, Peter Václav became interested in the Church. During one meeting, Václav was baptized. A short time later, his wife, Hana, also joined the Church. After the Velvet Revolution, the Václav family held the first regular Church meetings in Trenčín in their home. On January 24, 1993, the Trenčín Branch was created with Peter Václav as branch president.