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  • Christians Practicing Yoga
    Apr 13 2016 Lent Yahweh Yoga Christians Practicing Yoga 1 Comment Apr 13 2016 Lent Yahweh Yoga Christians Practicing Yoga 1 Comment As promised I am writing to share what I learned from my Lenten Vows which were basically to give up something I love that I know probably isn t the best for me and to start something new that I would love that I know will be very good for me Apr 13 2016 Lent Yahweh Yoga Christians Practicing Yoga 1 Comment Apr 13 2016 Lent Yahweh Yoga Christians Practicing Yoga 1 Comment Apr 7 2016 Breath Meditation Every Day Practice Renee Comment Apr 7 2016 Breath Meditation Every Day Practice Renee Comment Why We Need More Bubbles Apr 7 2016 Breath Meditation Every Day Practice Renee Comment Apr 7 2016 Breath Meditation Every Day Practice Renee Comment On parenting and blowing bubbles as a meditation on joy Apr 7 2016 Breath Meditation Every Day Practice Renee Comment Apr 7 2016 Breath Meditation Every Day Practice Renee Comment Mar 30 2016 Lent Easter Francis Clooney Meditation Renee 4 Comments Mar 30 2016 Lent Easter Francis Clooney Meditation Renee 4 Comments Yoga and Easter Mar 30 2016 Lent Easter Francis Clooney Meditation Renee 4 Comments Mar 30 2016 Lent Easter Francis Clooney Meditation Renee 4 Comments As I ve been editing and posting Father Clooney s reflections on Lent and the Yoga Sutras for the past few weeks I ve been struck again by how much the practice of yoga prepares the body for prayer and meditation for being still before God Mar 30 2016 Lent Easter Francis Clooney Meditation Renee 4 Comments Mar 30 2016 Lent Easter Francis Clooney Meditation Renee 4 Comments Mar 26 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Mar 26 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Yoga and Lent VIII The Samadhi of Jesus Mar 26 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Mar 26 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Fr Clooney s Yoga and Lent series concludes with a Holy Saturday reflection on samadhi alongside Jesus death and resurrection Mar 26 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Mar 26 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Mar 22 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Mar 22 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Yoga and Lent VII The Contemplative Gaze Mar 22 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Mar 22 2016 Francis Clooney Lent Christians Practicing Yoga Comment Now I take up the sixth and seventh of these limbs those dealing most directly with meditation holding dharana and meditation dhyana The place where one holds one s attention could therefore be entirely neutral with respect to our relationship to God or Christ or it could be a simple long gaze upon what is local for the Christian in Lent in Holy Week the Christ with whom we sit at Table or with whom we pray in the Garden

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Overview — Christians Practicing Yoga
    Teach Yoga from a Christian Perspective Blog About Us Who We Are Mission History Get Involved Contributors Contact Christians Practicing Yoga Learn Overview Our Perspective History of Yoga and Christianity Can Yoga Help Me Pray Is Yoga a Religion The Eight Limbs of Yoga Are Yamas and Niyamas the same as the Commandments Is Pranayama compatible with Christianity What is the Christian Perspective on the Energy Body What is Christian Meditation What does chanting OM mean Additional Reading Discern Why Discern Is yoga right for me Can yoga help a Christian pray Chanting Kundalini Energy Reincarnation Practice Finding a yoga class Home Practice Christian Meditation Lectio Divina Find a Teacher Teacher Trainings Retreats and Workshops Personal Stories Saying yes Why I Teach and Practice Yoga and Jesus Body and Bread Yoga Deepened my Relationship with God Breathing in the Neshamah Yoga and Meditation as a College Course Why I Fell in Love with Yoga How We Started our Christian Yoga Practice Why I Teach Yoga from a Christian Perspective Blog About Us Who We Are Mission History Get Involved Contributors Contact An Overview of Yoga and Christianity Learn Overview Our Perspective History of Yoga and Christianity Can Yoga Help Me

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/yoga-and-christianity/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Our Perspective — Christians Practicing Yoga
    is Christian Meditation What does chanting OM mean Additional Reading Our Perspective Fr Tom Ryan CSP Amy Russell Dana Moore and Renee Prymus As Christians practicing yoga we approach yoga with a deep sense of gratitude and respect for its ancient history Yoga was developed in India a primarily Hindu culture but was intended as a universal human practice the goal of which involves experiencing the union with the divine that is already there but that has been clouded over with the stresses and strains of life Our intention is not to christianize yoga Rather we share a strong desire to live a holistic Christian spirituality and to benefit from practices that contribute to it Yoga can refer to the traditional yoga philosophy or modern postural practice or both While some of the voices on this site may vary in their approaches to yoga overall we have found the physical practice of yoga especially the postural practice to be helpful in a variety of ways We have been gifted with these bodies because this is where God dwells Fr Tom Ryan CSP I As a form of worship When we step onto our mats with the intention of honoring God we are bringing our whole selves body mind and soul into worship of and communion with God II As a way to prepare for meditative prayer A few simple yoga exercises will help you become relaxed in body relieved of mental preoccupations and restful in spirit III As a practice in cultivating spiritual values Patience sensitivity non judgment and many similar spiritual values can be cultivated on the yoga mat As we work with the abilities and limitations of our bodies and our habitual ways of responding to challenges we have the opportunity to practice these virtues IV As a physical health practice A good yoga routine is one of the most comprehensive holistic health practices available All of the dimensions of physical fitness are cultivated in an integrated way These include strength flexibility balance coordination concentration and deep breathing An Incarnational Faith Where the body is concerned Christianity has by and large not walked its talk It has resisted the radical nature of its own good news On the one hand it has the highest theological evaluation of the body amongst all the religions of the world and on the other hand it has given little attention to the body s role in the spiritual life in positive terms High theology low practice The practice of yoga reminds us of the Biblical basis for a Christian high theology of the body The opening chapter of the book of Genesis affirms that we are created male and female in God s own image and that the body reflects God s own goodness In the festival of Christmas recorded in the Gospels it is precisely God becoming flesh in a historical person Jesus of Nazareth that is celebrated the incarnation from in carnis which literally means in the flesh In the

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/our-perspective/ (2016-04-26)
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  • History of Yoga and Christianity — Christians Practicing Yoga
    tenets of Hinduism and the Vedanta Interestingly Swami Vivekananda downplayed the role of the body and asana poses The second wave coincided with the trips that the Beatles and the Beat poets took to India in the 1960s and although they helped to popularize the practices of yoga and meditation they were not the second wave The second wave came through the fifties sixties and seventies as yoga gurus Indra Devi Sivananda B K S Iyengar Pattabhi Jois and Bikram Choudry brought their versions of modern postural yoga to the States These yogis did not travel together or at the same time but for the most part they were taught yoga by the same man in India Krishnamacharya It was Krishnamacharya who began emphasizing hatha postural yoga over other branches of yoga and each of his students all developed their own flavor of yoga For more info watch the documentary Breath of the Gods Thus the second wave that brought yoga to the United States emphasized the modern postural yoga found in most yoga studios today Throughout the States now there are probably as many different interpretations of yoga philosophy and methods of yoga postures as there are denominations of Christians Finding a yoga class that is right for your body mind and spirit can be a little bit like trying to find a new church home when you move to a new city The history of North American Christians interacting with yoga builds on these waves In library searches of Christian yoga many practitioners find a little book called Christian Yoga 1960 by Jean Marie Déchanet Déchanet was a French Benedictine monk who discovered the powerful impacts of yoga on his personal life when it cured him of a life long illness He began writing about yoga prolifically although only three of his works have been translated into English of which Christian Yoga is the most popular Two other Benedictine monks reversed the learning process by moving to India In 1948 Father Henri Le Saux a French Benedictine monk moved to India and became one of the pioneers of the Hindu Christian dialogue Along the way Fr Le Saux became Swami Abhishiktananda and with Fr Jules Monchanin founded a Christian ashram called Shantivanam Forest of Peace in 1950 In 1955 Father Bede Griffiths a British born Benedictine monk and student and friend of C S Lewis moved to India and became the director of Shantivanam in 1968 Both Le Saux and Griffiths were prolific writers and pioneers in interfaith dialogue Back in North America in the wake of the second wave of yoga related seeds were being sown In the late 1970s the Benedictine John Main the founder of what is today the World Community of Christian Meditation became the teacher and spiritual guide of Father Tom Ryan CSP in Montreal In 1991 Fr Tom after 10 years as director of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism took a sabbatical study period in India to learn more about the world

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/history-of-yoga-and-christianity/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Can Yoga Help Me Pray? — Christians Practicing Yoga
    working out their salvation Confident that God is at work in their lives they look for methods or practices that can respond to and co operate with God s grace The practice of yoga offers a well rounded method or series of practices to do just that The term asana or posture means in the first place a seat understood to be a stable relaxed position from which one may meditate Yoga does not replace such necessary components of the Christian life as study of scripture and participation in the liturgical life of the Church It is however a good seat for Christian practice In what ways is this so For the Christian yoga practice provides a means of expressing devotion and prayer through physical posture and gesture a positive valuing of the body and its ways of knowing a positive valuing of both physical pleasure and challenge a heightened awareness of one s interconnectedness with other bodies human and non human increased capacity for concentration and meditation In this way yoga helps the Christian to an experience of a genuinely incarnated spiritual life a way of using the body for prayer Some attach phrases from scripture or the liturgy to the postures Others simply make it their intention that the whole of their asana practice be an offering to God In either case such a way of prayer can lead to a greater appreciation of other forms of embodied worship within the Church especially its sacramental life At times the Christian tradition has been suspicious of bodily experiences of pleasure or pain Yoga practice can be a helpful way of responding to both such experiences with equanimity and grace Comfort with our bodiliness heightens our sense of connection with other creatures Repeated encounter with ourselves and God through yoga practice serve to ground us and keep the spiritual life from becoming abstract merely cerebral or disincarnate As Christians discover these latter benefits they may find opening to them other distinctive values of yoga practice The other limbs of the yoga tradition find their place within the Christian s life For example the yamas and niyamas ethical constraints and commitments complement the Christian tradition s own moral teaching For many people the growing sense of bodily awareness and increased capacity for concentration open the way to meditation The calming and opening of the body and mind help with other forms of meditation such as the mantra meditation tradition taught by Dom John Main SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW YOGA CAN HELP YOUR PRAYER When we cue in to the body it can teach us about prayer and open us to new forms of prayer Some examples of the things people say when they become aware of how a bodily gesture or posture inclines the heart When I held hands with others in the circle I felt solidarity and strength I never knelt in prayer before it allowed me to express radical dependence Lying on my back with my eyes closed I

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/asana-and-christianity/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Is Yoga a Religion? — Christians Practicing Yoga
    well being Feuerstein describes it as a systematic program for peaceful living with sharpened self awareness In Feuerstein s teaching yoga has two primary meanings union and discipline Union the very word yoga means to yoke to unite the body mind in harmony Discipline integral yoga is an approach to life that seeks to unite all the aspects of our living e g our inner spiritual life and our relations with others Putting all this together one could say that yoga is a system of practices for the development of human potential It attempts to stimulate our nature s optimal fulfillment While it has an eastern origin it transcends both the cultural and geographical boundaries that initially supported it It is not necessarily tied to Hindu cultural expressions or even Hindu philosophical understandings such as karma and reincarnation Thus it has become a valued practice instrument in the lives of people from all religions or none In his book The Deeper Dimension of Yoga Feuerstein acknowledges that some Westerners who are practicing Christians or Jews are concerned about yoga being an Eastern religion They fear that by taking up the practice of yoga they might undermine their own religious faith Feuerstein writes Yoga it is quite true has historically been associated with India s three great religious cultural traditions Hinduism Buddhism and Jainism Thus the teachings of yoga are infused with many concepts that have a Hindu Buddhist or Jaina flavor In fact we need not believe in anything other than the possibility that we can go beyond our present understanding and experience of the world and more significantly beyond our current egocentric state of being How can yoga enrich the religious or spiritual life of a practicing Christian or Jew The answer is the same as for a practicing Hindu Buddhist or Jaina Yoga aids all who practice religion regardless of their persuasion by balancing the nervous system and stilling the mind through its various exercises from posture to breath control to meditation Yoga s heritage is comprehensive enough so that anyone can find just the right techniques that will not conflict with his or her personal beliefs So practicing Christians or Jews or practitioners of any other religious tradition should take from yoga what makes sense to them and deepens their own faith and spiritual commitment 25 26 It is thus understood that practitioners will bring their own understanding to how you get beyond where you are now A Christian for example would appropriately see grace working through nature i e would see God working through these practices to open us up to a deeper spiritual understanding of who we are Clearly some practitioners believe in a personal God others in an Ultimate Reality that is singular and formless still others refuse to speculate e g Theravadan Buddhists And yet all of them practice yoga The irrefutable proof that yoga is not a religion and not necessarily tied to Hindu philosophical convictions is simply the facts on the

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  • The Eight Limbs of Yoga — Christians Practicing Yoga
    for the body held over time and synchronized with the breath Muscles bones the nervous systems respiratory circulatory digestive cardiovascular and endocrine systems all work together to support the pose and the pose in turn strengthens regulates and balances the body As we practice the asanas we grow in our awareness of the body and we see more clearly the truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made Ps 139 14 16a Out of gratefulness to our Creator we acquire a new desire to honor our body as the amazing gift that it is knowing that our body is a temple of the Holy Ghost as well as the vehicle through which God wants to work out His will on the earth We keep our bodies healthy and ready to complete the works He has prepared in advance for each one of us to do Eph 2 10 Pranayama or breath work is controlled breathing The components of pranayama are the inhalation the exhalation and retention the pauses in between the breath Breath work has a calming and quieting effect upon the mind and the senses preparing us for the more internal practices of yoga that follow As we focus on our breath we are reminded that it is the breath of Almighty God that gives us life Job 33 4 We sense our connection to our Source Jesus more intimately and are calmed by remembering this connection and His promise that He is always with us As we breathe fully with the awareness that every breath we take is a gift from our Father not only do we energize our vital inner body with fresh oxygen all the way down to the cellular level as the lungs pump oxygen into the blood and the blood carries the oxygen to every cell but we also mentally and emotionally choose to stay connected to our Ultimate Life Force Jesus Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses can for a Christian be summed up with the words Be in the world but not of the world When practicing yoga from a Christian perspective we remember that the world is not our home Our home is with Christ who is seated in the heavenly realms at the right hand of the Father Col 3 1 3 So we do not cling to the things of this world Instead we concern ourselves with the things of the Kingdom of God and we seek to bring His kingdom to earth as Jesus taught us to do in the Lord s Prayer Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven We willingly withdraw our senses from things of the flesh that would bend our wills towards our own selfish desires and we embrace the freedom that comes from living by the Spirit We die to ourselves and our plans for our lives and instead we live our lives as Christ did

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  • Are Yamas and Niyamas the same as the Commandments? — Christians Practicing Yoga
    all thought speech and action has consequences Do we harbor violence towards ourselves and others Do our thoughts wish ill on others Even being unkind unfeeling or indifferent to others is a form of violence Ahimsa expects us to take responsibility for our aggressive tendencies and to work on developing compassion patience and love towards others From a Christian perspective This yama resonates strongly with the commandment in the law that Jesus placed on a level with the greatest commandment the love of God with all one s heart mind and strength You shall love your neighbor as yourself Throughout the course of His teaching Jesus repeatedly emphasized the need to forgive to turn the other cheek and to refrain from anger He exhorted people to love their enemies and to do good to everyone who hated them During his arrest He even reproved a follower who cut off the ear of a servant of Caiphas saying that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword Finally in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus declares that peacemakers are the children of God 2 Satya Truth Satya literally means that which is and is commonly translated as truthfulness Like ahimsa satya incorporates thought speech and action Being truthful in all things is of paramount importance in yoga but it must be balanced with ahimsa Thus we do not need to speak unnecessary truth That dress is hideous when it hurts others From a Christian perspective The commandment You shall not bear false witness mirrors satya Jesus also describes telling lies as one of the many things that make a person unclean and unfit to worship God Matt 15 19 20 Truthfulness is also a touchstone in Christian ethics 3 Asteya Not Stealing The word steya many scholars agree means greed based on a perceived lack of abundance So stealing stems from the belief that there s not enough for everyone We all agree that to steal is to take something that does not belong to us But stealing can be broader than just the misappropriation of a physical object Stealing can also apply to thoughts Waste in all its form energy water excessive material consumption is also theft at the expense of the rest of the world s inhabitants From a Christian perspective The commandments You shall not steal and You shall not covet your neighbor s goods are unequivocal expressions of asteya Christian theology has always emphasized that we do not own anything not even our bodies but rather that every possession is a gift from God held in trust Everything belongs to and comes from God 4 Brahmacharya Moderation This yama has always focused on celibacy and continence In yogic philosophy we have a limited life force and one of the quickest ways to deplete this life force was to dissipate one s sexual energy in unlimited sexual congress Sexual control was advocated for everyone and celibacy was required for yogis From a Christian perspective In

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