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  • Holy Waiting: Advent — Christians Practicing Yoga
    been listening to the news and the bleak violence in our world I wonder if I m catching a glimpse of what it must have been like for the people of Israel to wait and wait and wait for centuries for the Messiah Whenever I hear of another fatal shooting two prayers arise in my heart Lord have mercy and Come Lord Jesus We are again waiting for the kingdom even as we work and pray together with the Holy Spirit to bring peace The season of Advent is a holy season of waiting In it we remember that the people of Israel waited centuries for the Messiah and that when the Messiah came it was in the form of a baby not a military hero Not what the people had been expecting but so much more I can only imagine that for the people of Israel the waiting felt much like the landscape around them desert like Perhaps even hopeless So deserted that when Jesus came only a handful of people recognized what was happening But Jesus did come Jesus did fulfill the prophecies And Jesus gave living water to dry hearts So for Advent this season of both waiting and celebration I offer two meditations for our hearts Meditation 1 Where are you waiting Individually Where are the desert areas in your life Where have you been waiting Where have you maybe even given up Communally Where are the desert areas in the life of the Church In your community In the life of the world Where have we been waiting Where have we given up These are holy areas Holy areas where God s presence is needed Where God wants to sit with us in the waiting and in the pain During your meditation practice sit with

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2015/12/3/holy-waiting-advent (2016-04-26)
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  • Blog — Christians Practicing Yoga
    pain at about nine minutes That s eleven minutes of meditation on pain 2 Comments Christians Practicing Yoga October 20 2015 Jesuit Yoga IV Christians Practicing Yoga October 20 2015 The final question I wish to address has to do with the end of the two texts if a person practices yoga as understood by Patañjali or meditation as taught by Ignatius and if she or he reaches a fairly advanced state by effort by grace then what kind of person is this and how does she or he live Do Ignatius and Patañjali produce very different kinds of persons Tagged Jesuit Yoga Yoga Sutras Francis Clooney 2 Comments Christians Practicing Yoga October 13 2015 Jesuit Yoga III Christians Practicing Yoga October 13 2015 When the object of our meditation alone illumines us Tagged Jesuit Yoga Yoga Sutras Francis Clooney Comment Christians Practicing Yoga October 6 2015 Jesuit Yoga II Christians Practicing Yoga October 6 2015 One of the things that most attracts people to yoga I think is that it is wholesome challenging and able to bring a deep sense of well being to body mind and spirit all without seeming to impose an alien worship on the practitioner Even in the ancient Indian traditions and certainly now in America it has always seemed possible to practice yoga and at the same time maintain even deepen our original and continuing faith commitments But at the same time this very point is a source of worry for others since yoga seems blithely unconcerned about matters of religion as if its energies were elsewhere making religious commitment seem not so much a problem as simply optional If yoga is a powerful religious system shouldn t it conflict in a more direct way with Christian commitment Or are we missing something Tagged Jesuit Yoga Yoga Sutras Francis Clooney Comment Christians Practicing Yoga September 29 2015 Jesuit Yoga I Christians Practicing Yoga September 29 2015 Yoga is extremely supple in its ability to take on various rationales nondualist devotional health oriented Hindu Buddhist etc and my impression is that even expert teachers of disciplined yoga practice are rather fluid sometimes unhelpfully vague in their explanations as to what it is all for The Sutras help pin down a succinct attitude toward the practice and its purpose Tagged Jesuit Yoga Yoga Sutras Francis Clooney Comment Renee September 22 2015 Yoga as Sabbath Renee September 22 2015 In studying yoga I rediscovered the Biblical practice of Sabbath Sabbath teaches that each week has a rhythm of work and rest Taking a day a week is a little bit like savasana restoration pose at the end of a yoga class move and work 6 7s of the class rest for 1 7 Work for six days rest for one Work the land for six years rest the land for one Leviticus 25 5 Comments Christians Practicing Yoga September 17 2015 Yoga Faith Christians Practicing Yoga September 17 2015 This beautiful and ancient gift of yoga was

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/?offset=1448302773309 (2016-04-26)
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  • Contact — Christians Practicing Yoga
    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 Contact About Us Who We Are Mission History Get Involved Contributors Contact FIND US ON FACEBOOK TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF Please let us know

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/contact-us (2016-04-26)
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  • Interview with Yahweh Yoga: Christian-Style Yoga — Christians Practicing Yoga
    it s called Bikram for inventor Bikram Choudhury it will be a series of 26 basic yoga postures each performed twice Hatha By definition hatha is a physical yoga practice which is pretty much all yoga you ll find in this hemisphere One of the six original branches of yoga hatha encompasses nearly all types of modern yoga In other words hatha is the ice cream if styles like ashtanga and Bikram are vanilla and chocolate chip Today classes described as hatha on studio schedules are typically a basic and classical approach to yogic breathing exercises and postures Iyengar This is a purist yoga named after founder B K S Iyengar Props like blocks straps harnesses and incline boards are used to get you more perfectly into positions and have earned the style its nickname furniture yoga Appropriate for all ages and abilities Iyengar yoga is all about precise alignment and deliberate sequencing Don t take that to mean easy Jivamukti A physical limit pushing practice that reintegrates yoga s traditional spiritual elements in an educational way for Western practitioners Expect a theme for each class Sanskrit chanting and references to ancient scripture Created by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984 in New York City jivamukti translates as liberation while living Kripalu Kripalu is a three part practice that teaches you to get to know accept and learn from your body It starts with figuring out how your body works in different poses then moves toward postures held for an extended time and meditation It then taps deep into your being to find spontaneous flow in asanas letting your body be the teacher Kundalini The practice of kundalini yoga features constantly moving invigorating poses The fluidity of the practice is intended to release the kundalini serpent energy in your body Weren t aware you had any Well just think of it as an energy supply coiled like a sleeping snake at the base of the spine waiting to be tapped the practice aims to do just that awaken and pulse the stuff upward through the body Prenatal Yoga postures carefully adapted for expectant mothers Prenatal yoga is tailored to help women in all stages of pregnancy even those getting back in shape post birth When you keep your muscles strong through your term they will still have the strength and energy to return to normal Restorative Less work more relaxation You ll spend as many as 20 minutes each in just four or five simple poses often they re modifications of standard asanas using strategically placed props like blankets bolsters and soothing lavender eye pillows to help you sink into deep relaxation There s also psychic cleansing the mind goes to mush and you feel brand new It s something like group nap time for grownups It s better not to fall asleep though Sivananda An unhurried yoga practice that typically focuses on the same 12 basic asanas or variations thereof every time bookended by sun salutations and savasana

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2015/11/4/interview-with-yahweh-yoga-christian-style-yoga (2016-04-26)
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  • Confessions of a Beginning Meditator — Christians Practicing Yoga
    Get Involved Contributors Contact October 28 2015 Renee Confessions of a Beginning Meditator Renee October 28 2015 Confessions of a Beginning Meditator Renee October 28 2015 Renee Prymus I don t know how to sit I m at a yoga retreat and we finish every class with twenty minutes of meditation Each sitting position I try results in searing back pain at about nine minutes That s eleven minutes of meditation on pain So today I am trying sitting on my knees instead of cross legged like Buddha I m not Buddha anyways Everything is silent the gym the people the joints No one moves No one except the rain beating a metronome for our breath I feel grateful Five minutes Knees are good Back muscles report not good A dull pain is growing just below shoulder blades Two days ago the man behind me led the first meditation session He sat cross legged on a navy pillow hands on his knees From the top of a straight spine he asked us to find a comfortable position Yoga without meditation he said is like driving a Ferrari to buy milk It s not using the full potential He was silent while we moved into position I had deliberated between lying down or remaining seated Was it cheating to lie down Before I could decide he said Now that you have chosen and I didn t hear anything else I was stuck having chosen sitting with my left shin behind my right I took his words literally figuring there was something sacred in the choosing something symbolic in the pose before God So I had endured the cross legged position sitting in agony for the final ten minutes Nine minutes Back now reports a scream of pain Scream I don t know what to do Sometimes yoga people talk about energy Right now I m feeling negative energy And I know my negative energy can be strong because a coworker once said to me Renee the negative energy coming out of you this morning is so strong you have to turn it off You re pulling down the good vibes from my cigarette A yoga instructor once explained that Kundalini yogis believe that their energy escapes out of their heads so they wear turbans so that their energy doesn t interfere with one another She said that they nearly yell at her to wear a head scarf because her energy is so strong I didn t doubt her story with her curly vibrantly red hair and 70 s colored yoga pants her contagious personality nearly spilled out of her At least her energy was positive I probably have waves of negative energy spilling out of my head I wonder if the man behind me can sense it He s probably sitting in peaceful meditation heaven sitting there like the stone still statute of Buddha At least he ll be there until my negative energy hits him This can t be meditation

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2015/9/1/confessions-of-a-beginning-meditator (2016-04-26)
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  • Jesuit Yoga IV — Christians Practicing Yoga
    position to decide whether yogic and Ignatian practices form persons very much alike or very different any person wishing to offer an intelligent view of the matter would have to have wholeheartedly given herself to that practice and the world it entails over a long period of time But no one this theory goes actually does this with twotraditions and so none of us really has the insight on the basis of which to make such a decision So the question of where these practices end up could never be answered I take such views seriously and do not wish to dismiss the value of deeply rooted beliefs in how things are or ought to be But I do wish to suggest in light of the plea I have made that we read the texts and study what the authors are telling us that it may be that the Yoga Sutras and the Exercises leave us with open possibilities that practitioners of both traditions can welcome theological differences aside At the end of the Exercises Ignatius proposes to us a contemplation to gain love which asks us to see the world as encompassed by God s love He tells the retreatant to ask for interior knowledge of so great good received in order that being entirely grateful I may be able in all to love and serve His Divine Majesty Mullan translation In turn then the retreatant is guided to remember what God has done for her personally and in creation to see how God dwells in all created things how God works for us in all the things that comprise our world and to see how everything descends into our world as a gift from God In each of these four moments Ignatius indicates that the retreatant should then offer herself to God in turn with the well known words Take Lord and receive all my liberty my memory my intellect and all my will all that I have and possess Thou gavest it to me to Thee Lord I return it All is Thine dispose of it according to all Thy will Give me Thy love and grace for this is enough for me By tradition and in the experience of many this offering is followed by a return to the world to see God in all things and to walk with Jesus in a life of service to our fellow sisters and brothers Patañjali s Sutras even more laconic than the Exercises end with verses that have challenged interpreters for millennia I give them here without footnotes and in a slightly loose rendering that makes them a bit clearer than is the Sanskrit by itself For the person who no longer has interest even in clarity in meditation there is true discernment whence arrives the cloud of dharma that is samadhi With that both affliction and karmic results cease And then because there is infinite knowledge free from the impurity that covers all things what still remains

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2015/9/1/jesuit-yoga-iv (2016-04-26)
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  • Jesuit Yoga III — Christians Practicing Yoga
    only a simple luminous instant in which the object of knowledge simply radiates forth its presence while the mind made simple is now a kind of witness entirely given over to awareness of the graceful radiance of the hitherto mundane object Three sutras translated a bit loosely here for the sake of clarity help us to get a sense of Patañjali s intent The mind reaches a state of balance without discursive thought when memory is purified and the object alone shines forth as if emptied of its own form I 43 This balance is achieved through meditative practice When the object of steady meditation alone shines forth as object as if devoid of its own form that is absorption III 3 Patañjali returns to this theme in the very last sutra After the constituents of material reality have flowed back to their original state no longer serving any purpose for a person this is utter simplicity or this is steadfastness in one s own form it is the power of being consciousness IV 34 In the final installment of this series Jesuit Yoga IV I will ponder what kind of person we are if we end up where Patañjali wants to lead us But here I wish to point out a connection between approaching this pure luminous object of yoga and perhaps improbably to many a reader approaching the ultimate object of meditation in the Ignatian Exercises Jesus himself The Second Third and Fourth Weeks are dedicated to long loving contemplation respectively of the life and ministry of Jesus his passion and death and his final interactions with his friends after the Resurrection Not only the purification expected in the First Week but also the meticulous daily meditations of each day of each subsequent week can be taken as moving the retreatant ever closer to a simple intuitive gaze upon Jesus a gaze freed finally from conscientious but ultimately tedious irrelevant thoughts about myself how I am meditating what Jesus is supposed to mean for me etc Each day the retreatant returns to that day s meditation over and again each time seeking out the single living point of contact with God in it in order to settle there and find God in that moment be it a Gospel word or action an image or memory or simply some view of Jesus in his life and death It is a process of distillation to get at the heart of things Most potent in this regard in light of the Yoga Sutras is the fifth daily contemplation An Application of the Five Senses Ignatius advises the retreatant who has spent the day purifying and distilling her meditation down to its purest and most powerful instances to apply the spiritual senses to this tender object By the sight of my imagination I will see the persons by meditating and contemplating in detail all the circumstances around them By my hearing I will listen to what they are saying or might be

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2015/9/1/jesuit-yoga-iii (2016-04-26)
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  • Jesuit Yoga II — Christians Practicing Yoga
    Yoga II Christians Practicing Yoga October 6 2015 Jesuit Yoga II Christians Practicing Yoga October 6 2015 Francis S Clooney S J This article was originally published in America The National Catholic Review on May 15 2008 Reprinted here with permission from the author One of the things that most attracts people to yoga I think is that it is wholesome challenging and able to bring a deep sense of well being to body mind and spirit all without seeming to impose an alien worship on the practitioner Even in the ancient Indian traditions and certainly now in America it has always seemed possible to practice yoga and at the same time maintain even deepen our original and continuing faith commitments But at the same time this very point is a source of worry for others since yoga seems blithely unconcerned about matters of religion as if its energies were elsewhere making religious commitment seem not so much a problem as simply optional If yoga is a powerful religious system shouldn t it conflict in a more direct way with Christian commitment Or are we missing something Since yoga is many things to many people there are probably many answers to this question much depends on where we learned yoga how we practice it etc But I do find a certain wisdom and challenge again in the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali introduced in my last entry Early in the Sutras Patañjali remarks on the efficacy of turning to God In I 12 he had said that the fluctuations of the mind are calmed by constant practice and by the learning of dispassion detachment After some intervening matters he adds Or by turning to the lord I 23 The Sanskrit word for lord here ishwara may or may not refer to God as ordinarily understood but certainly an important strand of the yoga tradition has assumed that Patañjali is here offering that option as if to say If not constant practice and dispassion then try turning to the Lord that will work too For many people perhaps the most effective path is turning to the Lord to the person who is attentive and focused the divine person in turn responds graciously giving him or her the calmness and clarity desired Now it may be unsettling that Patañjali is so matter of fact about all this bodily discipline can work detachment can work OR turning to the Lord can work Being devotional is not the only way to achieve what one seeks but it may indeed be your best way so turn to the Lord This openness may obviously be unsettling for some readers you can find your way to peace through devotion but you have other options too Patañjali goes on to describe this Lord he is untouched by afflictions actions the fruits of action or their residue he is omniscient with a knowledge that will not be surpassed all teachers have learned from him for he is not limited by

    Original URL path: http://www.christianspracticingyoga.com/christianity-and-yoga-blog/2015/9/1/jesuit-yoga-ii (2016-04-26)
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