>Hatha yoga, once the exclusive cultural property of an isolated ethic enclave, has today encircled the globe. But although yoga is phenomenally popular in the West as a source of spiritual and physical well being, few Christians know that it is also a unique way to worship God through the ancient disciplines of body-centered prayer.
This is surprising given that the Christian tradition is one whose central mysteries are that of the Incarnation - the embodiment of the Divine - and of the Resurrection - the transcending of the body's end. These body centered mysteries come with two facets: from the Creator's perspective, that of 'kenosis,' the self-emptying of the Divine into human flesh, and from the perspective of the creature, that of 'theosis,' the process of transcending the bounds of its flesh-enshrouded vehicle to become more Godly. Hatha yoga is an instrument for accomplishing the latter.
Anthony Randazzo, a Roman Catholic priest and student of yoga and Madelana Ferrara-Mattheis, a yoga teacher and educator, offer an introduction to the practice of yoga as a Christian discipline of prayer, told in engaging, delightful language and helpfully illustrated by color photographs useful to both experienced practitioners as well as to newcomers to yoga. But the authors' conversational, storytelling style and the size of 'Beatitudes, Christ and the Practice of Yoga' (108 pages) are deceptive: this is by no means a 'little book.' It is, rather, a manual for achieving spiritual and bodily balance in narrative form whose words must be both read as well as practiced to resonate.
This book is ideal for beginners as well as more advanced practitioners who wish to incorporate hatha yoga into their life of daily prayer and to integrate yogic principles into their devotional praxis. It is also extremely worthwhile reading for Yoga teachers with Christians as students and for those Christians who are wholly unfamiliar with hatha yoga, opening the door to a spiritual practice of unimagined richness and reward.
Full Title: The Beatitudes, Christ & the Practice of Yoga: A Sacred Log on Land and Sea
Authors: Ferrara-Mattheis, Madelana & Randazzo, Anthony
Publisher: Resurrection Press (2006)