Readers of this website know that, for us, “Christian yoga” covers quite a large territory. It basically includes mainstream hatha yoga practices as well as a bewildering variety of eastern and western meditative disciplines.
As a result, we write a lot about what is known as “Christian Zen,” which is basically Christians who practice Zen meditation without giving up their Christian values and beliefs. In the past 30 years or so, an emerging movement has developed in which dedicated Christians (mostly Catholics but some Protestants as well) have attempted to actually work out intellectually just how Zen practice and ideas can be integrated into a holistic Christian worldview. The results, naturally, have been mixed… and many people consider Christian Zen to be somewhat confused.
We, however, are encouraged. One of the leaders in the Christian Zen movement is the late Jesuit priest, Thomas Hand, S.J. , who died in 2005. Now, one of his associates — Judy Hayes, a former nun in both the Vedanta and Tibetan Buddhists traditions — has edited his writings into a new work titled Crossing Over Together: Walking the Zen Christian Path. It’s available for free download just by clicking on the link.
By Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
Several months ago I mentioned that I was teaching a seminar on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This fundamental yoga text, from nearly 2000 years ago, is brief — 195 very succinct verses — but it is the reference point for all the later yoga systems. I promised to report on the results of the seminar (with ten fine students) at its conclusion (this week), and so here (and hereafter) I offer some reflections.
Given the great popularity and accessibility of yoga — I was told recently that 20 million Americans practice some version of it — it may seem a bit too academic to go back and study the Sutras, but I was convinced by my seminar that this is very much worth the effort, even necessary if we are to know what yoga is all about.