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Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice

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If you're looking for clear links between Christian faith and the practice of yoga and meditation, this book is for you. Prayer of Heart and Body will help you integrate teachings from the Christian contemplative tradition into your practice and encourage a new appreciation for the role of the body in prayer. "Yoga," says the author, is "meditation in motion, a way to pray If you're looking for clear links between Christian faith and the practice of yoga and meditation, this book is for you. Prayer of Heart and Body will help you integrate teachings from the Christian contemplative tradition into your practice and encourage a new appreciation for the role of the body in prayer. "Yoga," says the author, is "meditation in motion, a way to pray with one's whole being--body, mind and spirit. It was originally designed to prepare people for sitting meditation." The two work powerfully together. Quoting extensively from such authors as Ignatius, John of the Cross, Rahner and Merton, Ryan explains what is distinctive about Christian meditation compared to some eastern forms, and looks at reincarnation and kundalini energy in the light of Christian faith, respecting the authenticity of other world religions and drawing from their wisdom traditions where appropriate. "Through this, Ryan integrates all that is beautiful, wise and holy in other traditions," says Jean Vanier in his Foreword, for a book that is "unifying and pacifying." The final section gives explicit instructions on beginning yoga. Using easy-to-follow diagrams, it covers breathing exercises, warm-up exercises, and the postures, including benefits, precautions and contraindications for each. In all, the basic aim of this beautifully written book is to assist the millions of Christians who today are practicing meditation or yoga or both, to consciously integrate them into their Christian spirituality as effective instruments for their personal development in prayer and daily living.


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If you're looking for clear links between Christian faith and the practice of yoga and meditation, this book is for you. Prayer of Heart and Body will help you integrate teachings from the Christian contemplative tradition into your practice and encourage a new appreciation for the role of the body in prayer. "Yoga," says the author, is "meditation in motion, a way to pray If you're looking for clear links between Christian faith and the practice of yoga and meditation, this book is for you. Prayer of Heart and Body will help you integrate teachings from the Christian contemplative tradition into your practice and encourage a new appreciation for the role of the body in prayer. "Yoga," says the author, is "meditation in motion, a way to pray with one's whole being--body, mind and spirit. It was originally designed to prepare people for sitting meditation." The two work powerfully together. Quoting extensively from such authors as Ignatius, John of the Cross, Rahner and Merton, Ryan explains what is distinctive about Christian meditation compared to some eastern forms, and looks at reincarnation and kundalini energy in the light of Christian faith, respecting the authenticity of other world religions and drawing from their wisdom traditions where appropriate. "Through this, Ryan integrates all that is beautiful, wise and holy in other traditions," says Jean Vanier in his Foreword, for a book that is "unifying and pacifying." The final section gives explicit instructions on beginning yoga. Using easy-to-follow diagrams, it covers breathing exercises, warm-up exercises, and the postures, including benefits, precautions and contraindications for each. In all, the basic aim of this beautifully written book is to assist the millions of Christians who today are practicing meditation or yoga or both, to consciously integrate them into their Christian spirituality as effective instruments for their personal development in prayer and daily living.

30 review for Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melody Riggs

    Took me a while to get through this as some of it was wordy and a little more “academic” ish. I wanted to know more about connecting yoga to the Christian faith and this book did deliver that. By the end though it was getting into theology with world religions, which isn’t really what I was looking for.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    I think this is a valuable read for those of the Christian faith, so I don't want to discourage it or bash the ideas presented in this book. It is, however, a roller coaster for me. It presents really good ideas then it flounders with being very dogmatic in approach. It seems as if the author spends a lot of time trying to show why Christianity is the truth. It would be great if this was more about integrating Christianity into a yoga and meditation practice without the need to be right. I am a I think this is a valuable read for those of the Christian faith, so I don't want to discourage it or bash the ideas presented in this book. It is, however, a roller coaster for me. It presents really good ideas then it flounders with being very dogmatic in approach. It seems as if the author spends a lot of time trying to show why Christianity is the truth. It would be great if this was more about integrating Christianity into a yoga and meditation practice without the need to be right. I am a Christian because I find it fits my values, traditions and faith history, not because I need to be right or have the truest or best belief system. It seems to be to competitive to a point of being dismissive of the other great religions of the world. But perhaps it is at least a step forward for those seeking to break out of stagnated spiritual experience.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alia

    This book discusses benefits of meditation and yoga, historical and contemporary teachers and philosophers, the aim and origin of yoga, yoga and christian faith, and offers some instruction on movement and breathing practices. This has been a joy for me to read and help integrate and profess my own beliefs of meditation, faith and yoga.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Renee Prymus

    Prayer of Heart and Body is the cornerstone book for the field of combining Christianity and yoga. Theologically dense, it also includes a manageable how-to-practice section. Any Christian interested in yoga should have this book on their shelf.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    It's been a long time since I've read a metaphysical book. Just a bit of the way in, I realized why: it's hard work! Several times I had to re-read and sit and think and stew and... well, you get the idea. I love the illustrations used to demonstrate the poses and exercises. They are really helpful. I'm going to try to incorporate the Lord's Prayer poses into my prayer routine. The author did a great job of explaining how yoga can benefit the Christian and the differences between Eastern and Weste It's been a long time since I've read a metaphysical book. Just a bit of the way in, I realized why: it's hard work! Several times I had to re-read and sit and think and stew and... well, you get the idea. I love the illustrations used to demonstrate the poses and exercises. They are really helpful. I'm going to try to incorporate the Lord's Prayer poses into my prayer routine. The author did a great job of explaining how yoga can benefit the Christian and the differences between Eastern and Western views on prayer, God, spirituality, etc. Thomas Ryan is impressed me with his knowledge of both Christianity and other religions. I bought an extra copy to donate to my church.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Teri Pool

    If you are a Christian who is interested in, or already practices meditation, this is the book for you. I have been doing yoga and meditation for 10 years or so, and always wondered about the churches history in this regard, particularly because some priests have told yoga is evil, while others have wholeheartedly supported my practice. I even took a class for staff and teachers when I worked at a Catholic prep school. This book lays out the history of the decline of meditation (No one expects t If you are a Christian who is interested in, or already practices meditation, this is the book for you. I have been doing yoga and meditation for 10 years or so, and always wondered about the churches history in this regard, particularly because some priests have told yoga is evil, while others have wholeheartedly supported my practice. I even took a class for staff and teachers when I worked at a Catholic prep school. This book lays out the history of the decline of meditation (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.) and integrates a Christian practice, knowledge gained from Eastern religions, and how to practice yoga from a Christian angle. Quite good.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is the best modern text I have found to date for exploring the history and practice of the Christian Contemplative. While it gets theologically heady at times, Ryan's use of primary sources is superb. This is the best modern text I have found to date for exploring the history and practice of the Christian Contemplative. While it gets theologically heady at times, Ryan's use of primary sources is superb.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Liz Whiston-Dean

    This is the first book I read about Christian Yoga practice and I have returned to it many times since. The pose info is helpful but the most important part is the scripture and historical context provided for Christians using yoga as a spiritual practice.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Wow...a total, thorough, text book like study on meditation and yoga and it's Christian aspects. Heavy and good. Glad I own it to revisit it. Lots to soak up. Wow...a total, thorough, text book like study on meditation and yoga and it's Christian aspects. Heavy and good. Glad I own it to revisit it. Lots to soak up.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah klapprodt

    part of my ever-evolving spiriatual journey....

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Dollard

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann K Smith

  13. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

  14. 4 out of 5

    Marie Mcmanus

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen T.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tabatha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michele Goff

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  22. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fabiola Rivera (Amrit Sukhmani Kaur)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lauranne Eichel

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nanette

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  28. 5 out of 5

    LK

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Wheelehan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara

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