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Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind Paperback – January 9, 1993

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This book by yoga teacher and mindfulness meditator Boccio offers a welcome and ambitious synthesis that is unevenly executed. Relating the Indian sage Patanjali's teachings on yoga to Buddhist teachings, the author invites practitioners of yoga and meditation to experience yoga's asanas, or poses, as occasions for mindfulness meditation. This relationship is both novel and logical. Buddhism grew from Hindu-yoga roots, and yoga, certainly as understood in America, could use a greater appreciation of its spiritual significance. Following a discussion of Buddhist teachings grounded on some central discourses (sutras) and heavily indebted to Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who supplies a foreword, Boccio provides four sequences of poses. The sequences generally repeat poses but are intended to lead the student to new understandings of those poses, thus encouraging growth in the discipline of yoga. As can be the case with yoga texts, this one has problems with its pictures. When poses are given in sequence, the accompanying sequence of pictures can be hard to follow, because not all steps are illustrated. Also, the instructions are not always obvious ("lift your sitting bones up as you drape your torso over your legs"). Because this book tries to do so much, it's not for beginning yoga students or meditators, but those with established practices may benefit from seeing the postures in a surprising and more spiritual light.
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Review

"EDITOR'S CHOICE! Boccio shows that Buddhist practice is itself a form of yoga, presenting a meditational approach to asana practice." (Yoga Journal)

"A must-have for all mindfulness practitioners who also practice or teach yoga. " (The Mindfulness Bell)

"The author invites practitioners of yoga and meditation to experience yoga's poses as occasions for mindulness meditation. This relationship is both novel and logical. .. A welcome and ambitious synthesis. " (Publishers Weekly)

"I highly recommend this book...elegant, lucid, astonishingly comprehensive, thoroughly accessible, designed -- refreshingly -- for real human beings! Bravo!" (Stephen Cope, senior Kripalu Yoga teacher and author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self)

"It's about time somebody wrote this!" (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are)

"In Mindfulness Yoga, Frank Boccio inspires us to join those who have walked the integrated path of yoga and mindfulness with a true teacher's voice of clarity, compassion and common sense." (Cyndi Lee, author of OM Yoga and founder of OM Yoga Center)

"A terrific book for both meditators and new yoga students. Highly recommended." (Josh Baran, author of 365 Nirvana Here and Now)

"Clear, intelligent, and much-needed. I'm delighted Frank Jude Boccio wrote this book. I now have something to recommend to my students." (Larry Rosenberg, Founder of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and author of Breath by Breath)

"A wonderful and invaluable book!" (Wendy Cook, Yeshe Yoga instructor and director of Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies)

"Boccio reminds us to focus not just on the physical postures but also on what they teach us about the deepest truth of our lives. This is a welcome approach at a time when yoga is too often seems as just another way to get fit. ... The most erudite of the recent offerings."-- (Tricycle)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861713354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861713356
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Queens, NYC way back in 1956, on the day Elvis Presley recorded "Hound Dog." I developed a 'curious interest' in Buddhism while in High School, after my sister died when I was 16. But it wasn't until my first marriage began to unravel that I finally began to practice yoga and got my butt to a zendo. I had been scrounging along the bottom shelf of an old bookstore and Suzuki Roshi's "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" fell off a top shelf and hit me on the head.

Still, after three years, I dropped practice and lived in the Lower East Side, writing about the punk music and film movement. Had a band called Bozo Jesus, and wrote a film "Her Name Is Lisa" that got me to the Berlin Film Festival in 1987 where I experienced my 15 minutes of fame.

In 1989, after another relationship hit the dust, I got back into practice and discovered Thich Nhat Hanh. In 1995 I took precepts with him, and in 1997 I was ordained into the Order of Interbeing. In 2000, I also started Dharma Student practice with the Korean Zen Master, Samu Sunim. He found me fit enough to ordain me as a Dharma Teacher (Poep Sa) on July 4th, 2007.

I currently live in Tucson, Arizona with my wife and two cats. I teach at Tucson Yoga and throughout the world. I'd love to hear from you!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I still consider myself a newcomer to yoga, having practiced semi-regularly for 3 years. Frank Jude Boccio's book, Mindfulness Yoga helped me make the distinctions between yoga practice and its origins and Buddhist traditions which heretofore I had lumped together in my Western mind as "same." He then goes on to demonstrate how the two cultural traditions intersect and work together in harmony for both meditation and asana practice. Boccio manages to give us the "Cliff Notes" explanation that is concise and clear and provides the reader with a basic overview of the historical and philosophical tenets of Buddhist teachings and how they relate to yoga practice. He also offers an easy and thorough introduction to meditation practice. The last section includes a series of asana sequences to practice which are thoroughly and imaginatively explicated. Mindfulness Yoga is chock full of information tempered with personal antecdotes and practical examples that make the material accessible and help us understand how to bring the Practice into all facets of daily living. His engaging writing style is informative and at times funny and lighthearted (Car Alarm Dharma, for example). I would recommend this book to anyone who's starting yoga or is a current practictioner and wants to understand more deeply the philosophical/spiritual aspect of the practice as well as the Sanskrit and Buddhist terminology.
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I am a student of Frank Jude Boccio's at Jai Ma Yoga Center in New Paltz, NY so I guess I am slightly biased . . . However, if you aren't lucky enough to have Frank as a teacher, pick up this book and you will feel as though he is there with you. The teachings in this book expand beyond the Western notion of what "yoga" is (that is, a way to lose weight, etc) and really get to the heart of the teachings. The writing is clear and concise and personal--you can really identify with the things Frank writes about. And for anyone who wants an understanding of Buddhism, and how Buddhism and yoga can go hand in hand, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it. Om Shanti.
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I've been doing yoga for about 5 years and began to become more interested in why we do yoga, in its spirtual underpinnings if you will. This book perfectly addresses that topic. There's an excellent description of yoga's origins and relationship to Buddhism. Moreover, it's a great tool to turn yoga asanas and movement into "moving meditation." Even in vinyasa-power yoga, there's a lot we can learn about and practice to enhance mind-body-spirit connection. This book does an outstanding job of informing the new or experienced yogi about how to gain more insight into what we really want to achieve from yoga.
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A very interesting premise that is well presented -- until you get to the Yoga sequences.

The sequences are very basic and very repetitive -- with the same photographs being used over and over again.

In short, there are better books on the practice of Mindfulness and there are better books on Yoga practice.

If you want both in one book, then this one is OK. Although, personally, I'd recommend Erich Schiffman's "Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness" over this one.

My copy of Schiffmann's book is well thumbed. But I doubt that I will pull "Mindfulness Yoga" off my bookshelf too many more times.
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As a yoga teacher, I found this to be an excellent resource for teaching mindfulness to my classes. My students also enjoyed this. I hope sometime to take a workshop with the author.
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Format: Paperback
Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind by Frank Jude Boccio is a merging of Buddhist teachings on mindfulness (rooted in the practices described by Thich Nhat Hanh) and yoga into a single practice where both inform the other. The breath and movement, the asana (pose) held as the breath is experienced, all working together to create an experience of being fully in the moment. There are four separate asana practices, each with a familiarly Buddhist theme with mostly basic poses. Boccio does put an asterisk beside the more challenging poses so the reader is aware of when to proceed with caution.

Now, I wrote in my blog about the embarrassing, albeit amusing, experience I had at Kripalu. I bought this book and then told some strange guy that I was devouring it (which I was) only to discover that the stranger was the author. I had bought the book to read it when I came home my resistance to its temptation was futile. I only wish I had waited because now I would love to refer back to the things that interested me most about Boccio's teachings. He does a wonderful job of showing how the two spiritual practices inform one another. The Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Eightfold Path. How hatha yoga moves with the breath and how the breath grounds a mindfulness meditation practice. It does not take a great deal of imagination to see the parallels but Boccio manages to make it all seem both obvious and profound while still keeping the more esoteric ideas accessible.

He says that each of the practices in the book "can take anywhere from 45 to over an hour and a half" but I found my practices with the book lasting closer to 2 hours and that was even when I held a pose for the shortest number of breaths.
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