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Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice Paperback – September 1, 2001

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Ryan, C.S.P., directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in New York City. Father Ryan also leads retreats in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

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Product Details

  • Series: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice
  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080914056X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809140565
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Ryan is a native of Minnesota and a member of the Paulist Fathers community of Catholic priests. His ministry has been marked by three passions: spirituality; Christian unity; and interreligious understanding and collaboration. Fr. Tom is currently the director of the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations in Washington, DC, and former director of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and of Unitas, an ecumenical center for Christian meditation and spirituality in Montreal, QC. An avid outdoorsman and appreciator of the theatrical and musical arts, he is the author or co-author of 14 books and leads retreats internationally.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Marshall R. Hudson-knapp on November 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a Christian pastor who has found yoga helpful in my own physical and spiritual journey I have looked for something to help me discern the religious dynamics behind and or within yoga. Thomas Ryan's book is wise, clear, exceptionally well-writtten and uplifting as well. I love his chapter on How Yoga can help a Chrstian Pray. Ryan describes the way yoga works within our bodily systems in a way that makes what I have experienced for many years understandable for the first time. He also shows us how Christians can utilize the practice of yoga as a springboard to deeper levels of surrender and as Christians, to focus our surrender into the presence of God.
In the chapter, Notions Strange to Christian Ears, the author clarifies concepts connected with yoga and compares them to Christian beliefs in a very insightful way that I found immensely helpful. He explores the concepts of reincarnation, kundalini energy, chakras and astral bodies and contrasts them with Christian convictions about death and resurrection, and the goal of meditation-prayer for Christians: communion and even union with God.
Some Christians are afraid of Yoga, or condemnatory. I have always felt a l ittle unsettled because I did not understand how yoga and Christianity interfaced. I have a lot more to read in this wonderful book and am finding it perfect for my search.
Ryan also offers insights that I find immensely helpful in my own spiritual practice: like cues during the day that can call me to take an idle moment and focus it in some deep prayerful breathing, times of tension or discouragement or tiredness or boredom that can be my moment to breath the Breath of Life again.
I have only read two chapters of this exceptional book and am stopping writing to go back to the delight of reading it. I invite you to give yourself a gift!
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86 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have been learning to do yoga for health reasons, to enhance both my physical strength and the body/mind connection in order to reduce the effects of fibromyalgia. I am interested in both the physical as well as the spiritual effects of yoga. Because I am a Christian, I have found it hard to use traditional yogic, primarily Kundalini chants, as they do not represent my religious views completely. This book has helped me to put my yoga practice together with my Christian beliefs, and to begin to explore and accept the mystical spirit of God in a new way. I recommend it to anyone who is on the same spiritual and health path.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Moon on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
3 Types of people need to read this book:

1) Christians who are just beginning (or thinking about beginning) a yoga practice; especially if they have ever worried that practicing yoga was somehow practicing Hinduism.

2) Yoga practitioners who either don't take time for meditation, or who have trouble focusing during meditation

3) People who are looking to enhance their prayer life.

Ryan does a great job of addressing the concerns that many in the Christian Church feel towards Yoga and other Eastern spiritual practices in addition to giving detailed guidelines for using meditation as a part of your prayer life. His writing is intelligent and direct- there is no "Christian-ease." Rather than spouting his own opinions about meditation, he quotes heavily from the teachings of Thomas Merton and John of the Cross, among others. Definitely worth reading.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sweetbriar on February 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a Christian and a yoga enthusiast, I have read many books on yoga, many from very recognizable names. This however, is a true gem. It's the best I've ever read and one I'm sure I'll read over and over again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Miller on July 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The back cover of the book states that it is "a down-to-earth, how-to guide for the beginning meditator..." Being an experienced yoga practioner and some-what experienced at meditation, I found the book very interesting. It gave me a wealth of information and insights about meditation and Christianity. I wouldn't recommend this book to someone with no background in meditation or yoga since it reads more like a text than a guide. I want to emphasize that I truly enjoyed the book and gained a wealth of information from it. I continually go back and reread it to gain more insight. This was the book I read before I went to my pastor with a proposal for starting a yoga class for our church members.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SerenityE on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I tell believers that I am a Christian who meditates they either get excited and interested or a puzzled look comes on their face. Unfortunately, we have been led to believe that Christianity and meditation don't complement each other. Yet, the Bible is filled with scriptures that not only encourage but admonish us to meditate on God. I am thankful for Father Ryan's book that helps to take the mystery out of Christian meditation so that believers can embrace a practice that can truly change their lives. Christian Meditation and Relaxation Four Cd Set
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard G. Waggener on February 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fr. Ryan and written an excellent introduction to the contemplative life for Christians who know little about it. His style is easy to read as he presents some fairly deep topics. I particularly appreciated his abbreviated history of meditation in various religious disciplines. I found his presentation of yoga as a valid part of the meditative process very sane and doable for the novice. I highly recommend this book for anyone or any group wanting to explore what the contemplative life is all about.
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