Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 19, 2005
Yoga Prayer invites your body to be the prayer
Fr. Thomas Ryan’s DVD melds prayer, meditation, exercise into one practice
YOGA PRAYER; An Embodied Christian Spiritual Practice (DVD), by Fr. Thomas Ryan, Produced by Paulist Productions, 2005.
Review by GLENDA CARLINE
Yoga Prayer: An Embodied Christian Spiritual Practice is a beautiful tool for Catholic Christians who wish to pray with every cell of their body.
Familiar and beloved prayers and music are the inspiration for the yoga sequencing. I Lift Up my Soul and Take, Lord, Receive by John Foley and the St. Louis Jesuits, and David Haas’ Prayer for Peace, all songs that have expressed Catholic spirituality are the root for these embodied prayers. We’ve sung these songs on Sundays for years and now we are invited to pray them each morning on a mat.
Ryan offers a fresh, creative, sacred practice rooted in sound theology. With this DVD Catholics are invited to come home to their bodies and truly experience the body as a temple of the indwelling God.
Another chapter of the DVD offers Ryan’s reflections on the theology of the body. He states that as Catholics we have a very high theology of the body and a low practice.
We believe in the indwelling spirit, the light of God that shines in each one of us. We believe in God’s becoming flesh, the bodily resurrection, and God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.
To elevate our spiritual practice to the level of our theology, we need to recognize a larger role for our bodies in our prayer and spiritual lives, going to God the way God came to us: in and through our bodies.
In Yoga Prayer we have the opportunity to experience God through the movement of muscles and joints; through the mindful inflow and outflow of our breath.
Persons with physical challenges, injury or illness, or those who have not exercised for some time would benefit from enrolling in a yoga class to safely learn the poses and modifications that would make the movements safe and beneficial to them. Others could easily purchase the DVD, put it in the player and get praying.
As a yoga teacher, Christian and Catholic, I love bringing my prayer and physical practice together. I must admit that one benefit I’ve experienced is meeting my daily needs for prayer, meditation, and exercise all in one practice.
In this way Yoga Prayers is truly holistic. Separating prayer from our bodies is as foreign as separating our spirituality from our day to day life
We all pray in different ways. Yoga Prayer: An Embodied Christian Spiritual Practice is a beautiful tool for Catholic Christians who wish to pray with every cell of their body.
Yoga Prayers is produced by Paulist Productions, and distributed by Sounds True. The DVD format lets the user move around easily and pray with as many or as few prayers as desired on any given day; the seven together representing a half hour of prayer.
(Glenda Carline is a certified yoga instructor and the director of Yoga For Today.)
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