Zen Meditation for Non-Buddhists

January 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Christian Zen, Meditation, Zazen, Zen

Zen meditation is a Japanese technique of focusing on a specific thing or thought. The tradition has been passing on from one generation to the other for almost many centuries now. Buddhists used to practice this unique type of meditation. In fact, Zen Buddhists are often referred to as ‘Meditation Buddhists?

The amount of time devoted by Zen mediators varies widely. Experts recommend a minimum period of about five minutes on a daily basis. This is sufficient for householders to benefit from the immense benefits of Zen meditation.

The main thing one needs to focus on is daily practice. Daily practice of Zen meditation for a small period of time is more than enough to benefit from its effects than spending about half an hour once in a week.

Zen meditation has evolved as a boon to people across the globe who are really stressed out due to the irregularity, chaos and tensions existing in their daily life.

Zen meditation involves sitting in a prescribed position, closing your mind to the thoughts and images for a certain period of time. Here, your heart rate will gradually decrease and breathing becomes shallow. Slowly, you will get in to a state of deep reflective meditation.

With the help of Zen meditation, you can easily create a synergy that would further assist you in connecting to all aspects of your existence such as the body, the soul and the mind. The energy that’s required to strengthen the synergy that you have collected comes from practicing Zen meditation.

When practicing Zen meditation, your mind will only be involved. You will not be engrossing your thoughts in to what happened in the past or what will happen in the future.

You will reach a moment where you will only be reacting to what is happening to you at the present.

Zen meditation is a technique that helps you to awaken your true nature. Here, you don’t need to subscribe any of the religious teaching. You just need to realize that there is a ‘Buddha?inside you. Awaken the Buddha inside you and you will be able get a deep insight of yourself.

Zen meditation was actually meant to awaken the real person inside you.

A) Here are some of the benefits followed in Zen meditation:

1. Zen meditation lets the practitioner to relax

2. It helps you to keep one stress free.

3. It helps you to find the real you.

B) Nine steps to achieve Zen meditation:

a) Name your breaths: for instance; in and out.

b) Pay close attention to when your breath gets deep and you feel more at peace.

c) Think of your body when you breathe in and when you breathe out try to relax each part of your body. You need to focus on one part at a time. Initiate with the shoulders.

d) Calm your body parts when you breathe in feel the compassion when you breathe out.

e) Relax your facial muscles one by one and send a half smile to all parts of the body.

f) Relax all the muscles that are still tense.

g) Think of joy when you breathe in.

h) Get back to your breathe in and breathe out position.

i) Sit in the position relax.

Article Source:http://www.wearticles.com

A Beginner’s Guide to Christian Yoga

January 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Christian yoga, Relaxation, Yoga

Many people are crazy about yoga. The reason most people practice yoga is that it makes them feel better and feel more in shape. The different poses and postures make their body flexible and healthy. Yoga for most is the best natural way to relax and unwind. If you are interested in keeping your body
in shape, this might be the best exercise for you.

Did you know that yoga could help fight certain illness that may come your way? There has been research that proved yoga helps you to control anxiety, reduces asthma, arthritis, blood pressure, back pain, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, epilepsy, diabetes, headaches, stress, and more.

Yoga has a lot of benefits and advantages. All in a day’s work, it can reduce tension and stress. Of course, after a heavy day, you will feel that your muscles have been stuck up and you will feel wasted.

If you do practice yoga, you may see an increase in your self-esteem. It is important to gain confidence so that you may face people without worry. Yoga is good for the body in increasing your muscle tone, strength, stamina, and flexibility. If you are too heavy, or conscious about your body shape, yoga can help you lower your body fat and help you stay in shape.

Yoga exercises can also burn excess fat and give you the desired figure that you want.

If you need time to relax and forget your responsibilities, then yoga will be good for improving your concentration and can enhance your creativity. Yoga helps you to think positively because it can help keep you free of your anxieties. If you have a fresh mind, you can easily think good thoughts.

Your body needs to relax often. Sometimes, at the end of the workday, you an feel exhausted. After some of the hardest days, we may not find time to unwind because troubles at work are still on our mind. Yoga helps you to clear your mind and create a sense of calmness and well-being.

Yoga exercises help you improve your blood circulation. Your organs and veins need to be exercised for them to function properly. Yoga can help stimulate your immune system, which can help keep you free from diseases.

Some people practice yoga to get enlightened. They believe that yoga will help them lift their spirit and keep them relieved. Yoga works differently for people, be it spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental, or physical.

Many people think that yoga is only for spiritual, or religious, people. But that myth is wrong. Even if you are not religious, you can do yoga. You will see and feel the difference, and at the same time find out how it works for you.

Due to the pressure and demands of life, we are stressed out and forget the essences of our lives. We tend to lose touch with the ones we used to spend time with, even ourselves.

We find ourselves rushing most of the time with deadlines and hassles at our jobs. This leaves us little time for our minds to wander and have that physical awareness.

These are a few things that yoga can provide. Occasionally, dedicate some time to relax and unwind, which only yoga can do.

Article Source:http://www.wearticles.com

Great Web Resources for Christian Yoga

December 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Christian yoga

1. Oustretched in Worship
Offers a Christian approach to yoga throughout the state of Alabama.

2. Welcome to Scripture Yoga
How could the class be Christian yoga if it wasn’t focused on God’s Word? … During the Emmaus Walk, the Christian yoga ministry was founded on the scripture: …

3. Christian Yoga?
But this is not the case with so called “Christian Yoga. … CHRISTIAN YOGA (Understand the Times Radio Commentary) 1998. Christian yoga sweeps the US (video, …

4. Christian Yoga
Non-profit organization that provides a Christian approach to Yoga. … This Christian approach to yoga simply allows us to combine these two essential …
5. YOGA – Just Exercise or a Hindu Religion?
Christian Yoga,’ I thought. … Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! … From this I could conclude that ‘Christian Yoga’ could only indicate one of two …

6. Christian Yoga
Christian Yoga comes from traditional Yoga. Are Christian Yoga and traditional Yoga compatible? … Can a Christian Practice Yoga? (YouTube site of Swami J) …

7. FAQ
This type of Christian yoga is very gentle with 25 minutes of full body … Conversely, practicing Christian yoga outwardly doesn’t make one right with God; …

8. Why a Christian ALTERNATIVE to Yoga?
Christian fitness, meditation, weight loss, stress relief, flexibility, DVDs, stretching, Christian alternative to yoga, praise and worship, not Christian yoga

9. Yahweh Yoga | Christ-centered yoga & teacher training
Yahweh Yoga offers Christ-centered yoga & teacher training classes in Chandler, Arizona. Check out our Christian yoga DVD and trendy, flattering workout clothes.

10. Marsha West — Christian Yoga? C’mon!
Churches are now offering “Christian yoga.” ( An oxymoron, if there ever was one. … If your church is integrating “Christian yoga” or any other New Age practice …

11. What is the Christian view of yoga?
What is the Christian view of yoga? Is yoga just a stretching routine, or are there … Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that …

12. Christian Yoga
Christian yoga opens the door to some who are wary of the ancient Hindu practice. … A Beliefnet message board discusses Christian yoga. …

13. “Christian Yoga”
“Christian Yoga” Hindu yoga has been known in the West for many decades, … But the author of Christian Yoga, being a Benedictine monk, adds some particular ” …

14. Yoga and Christianity
Yoga and Christianity: take a closer look at hatha yoga, the one most often believed to be purely … I once talked to a yoga teacher who became a Christian. …

15. A new wave of Christian yoga
Long controversial in some Christian circles, yoga is fast gaining adherents … As yoga has become more mainstream, Christian alternatives have emerged. …

16. One Truth Ministries – Brian Flynn – Christian Yoga – Oxymoron
Brian Flynn conducts seminars for churches and small groups nationwide sharing his testimony and warning them of the … FACTS ABOUT YOGA Please be aware …

17. PraiseMoves – The Christian Alternative to Yoga
Christian fitness, meditation, weight loss, stress relief, flexibility, DVDs, stretching, Christian alternative to yoga, praise and worship, not Christian yoga

18. Yoga
Beware: New Video on “Christian Yoga” – Christoga – From the Lighthouse … Is it okay for a ‘strong Christian’ to practice Yoga? …

19. Christian Yoga?
The Phenomenon of Christian Yoga … There is no Christian Yoga. … Article by Chris Lawson, ” Christian Yoga: Rooted in Hindu Occultism” This …

20. Article – Christian Yoga and Hindu Gods
Christian Yoga and Hindu Gods “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22 … Yoga is an ancient Hindu religious system of meditation and discipline. …

21. Christian Yoga – The new appropriation Strategy of delinking yoga from …
Christian Strategists are worried that christians who benefited from Yoga may … And now that it is “sanctified”, let’s have a brand of “Christian yoga. …

22. Yoga – Relaxation or Occult?
Yoga is from the Sankrit word Yug, meaning “union” (with the Divine, your higher ” … Cultic & Occultic Movements, Jack Sin, “Should a Christian Practise Yoga? …

23. Christian Yoga: Oxymoron
Christian Yoga-Oxymoron. Why is there such a thing as Christian Yoga? … If your reason for practicing “Christian” Yoga is to feel closer to God why …

24. Christian Yoga Magazine
And there is nothing particularly Christian about practicing yoga, either. … Yoga (or Buddhist) meditation is not the same thing as Christian or Jewish …

25. Yoga from a Christian Perspective Resources – Christians Practicing Yoga
Yoga and Healing. Meditative Prayer in the Christian Tradition – Lectio Divina … I Teach Yoga from a Christian Perspective – Yoga Deepened My Relationship …

26. Christian Yoga | Yoga
Christian Yoga, The Principle behind Christian Yoga … Christian yoga is a spiritual practice of Christians most common in Eastern and …

27. ABC News: Yoga With a Christian Bent
Yoga With a Christian Bent. Exercise Enthusiasts Reinvent the Practice to Suit Their Beliefs … faith,” said Christian yoga instructor Susan Bordenkircher. …

28. Doug Pagitt, Solomon’s Porch and Christian Yoga
John MacArthur, Doug Pagitt, Christians, and Yoga … “Christian yoga has been gaining a devout following, and Twin Cities pastor Doug …

29. Christian Yoga? – Yoga
Christian Yoga? plus articles and information on Yoga … So if a Christian group wants to practice “Son Salutations”, or “PraiseMoves, …

30. Christian Yoga
Christian Yoga at Manresa … Christian Yoga is a way of uniting with Christ. … Our Christian yoga program weaves together body postures with breath, sacred and …

31. Yoga and Christianity: Loving with All your Parts
Yoga and Christianity are being bridged by many people who … Actually, principles of Yoga are already contained within Christianity and Christian meditation. …

32. Discover Christian Zen |
Christian Zen means different things to different people. … Anti-Christian Yoga. Ayurveda. Bede Griffiths. Centering Prayer. Chaturanga dandasana …

33. Holy Yoga – the premier style of Christian Yoga – Testimonies
… program this is from the perspective of an experienced Christian Yoga teacher. I did receive a Christian Yoga certification from another program and spent just …

34. wcco.com – Controversy About Christian Yoga
A new fitness craze, called Christian yoga, has a very devout following, but some are criticizing the “New Testament” twist to an ancient tradition.

35. Soul Stretch | Christian yoga for all ages & fitness levels
Christian Yoga Schedule for Royal … Booking Private Christian Yoga Retreats For … here to enhance your Christian yoga practice with these recommended …

36. Yoga from a Christian Perspective Resources – Christians Practicing Yoga
Yoga and Healing. Meditative Prayer in the Christian Tradition – Lectio Divina … The “Christian Yoga Teacher Training” courses and curricula I’ve seen thus …

Yoga Allows Christians to Quiet Down, Prepare for Meditation

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Christian yoga, Meditation

By Bill Nolan

Every Monday evening for the past six weeks, I have left the treasures of Western civilization and headed East. OK, so it is only two blocks from my home and only one of them is east, but go with me here. I have become a sojourner in a new time and space. I have been instructed to configure myself in ways previously thought to be impossible given my physical structure. I have begun the practice of yoga.

Now let me dispel a few misconceptions: There is nothing un-Christian about practicing yoga. My eternal soul is in no danger, at least not from this practice. And there is nothing particularly Christian about practicing yoga, either. Its roots are in Hindu and later Buddhist philosophical and theological thought; the ultimate purpose of yoga is to prepare for meditation—in other words, all movements are preparation for the experience of stillness. Thus, while a benefit of yoga might be increased physical fitness, the goal of yoga is spiritual enlightenment.

The first Monday night I attended class I asked if we had to sit “Indian style.” I thought I was supposed to bend at the knees in order to touch my toes. And every time I was supposed to inhale, I was exhaling and vice-versa. I couldn’t have been doing things more wrong and I was frustrated because everyone else had legs that crossed the way they were supposed to, could reach the floor easily and knew how to breathe correctly. If I hadn’t already paid the non-refundable fee for the eight-week course, my first formal yoga class might also have been my last.

Of course, any spiritual practice that seeks a greater awareness of my body, mind and spirit will take practice, patience and self-discipline. And it can be a frustrating experience because it never goes exactly as I map it out. Too often, my best efforts fall short because perfection—whether that be God’s definitive “yes” in answer to my prayer for happiness or the unmatched quality of my “downward dog” pose—is the only acceptable outcome.

Yoga has taught me much about my quest for spiritual perfection. First, no such perfection exists. That makes letting go of that goal a bit easier. Second, the mere awareness of my physical being is itself a path to enlightenment. I am more aware of my body, of how it moves and bends and takes in and expels oxygen. I am conscious of the rhythmic, if not always artistic, connections between my movements and my stillness and am more aware than ever of the need for balance in both. Third, there is a power and grace that is found in humility. Yoga is a humbling experience, not because it reminds me of what my body cannot do, but because it reminds me that if my soul cannot be silent, I cannot hear the voice of God. If my mind cannot be aware of my breath, my whole being will be out of sync. And if I cannot experience the One that is within me, I will never experience the One in another. Those are the insights from yoga so far. So I just signed up for six more weeks. I have so much more to learn…

A New Book on Christian Zen by a Jesuit Priest

October 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Christian Zen, Reuben L.F. Habito

I’m a sucker for Christian Zen.  While I ultimately think the yogic techniques of meditation are more systematic and useful for advanced meditators, the simplicity and power of Zen (and early Ch’an teaching) probably explain why so many Christian seekers are drawn to Zen practice.  For years, there were only a handful of guides to walking “the razor’s edge” of Christian Zen, but recently there has been an explosion of new books about Christians who have studied Zen in depth — and lived to tell the tale.

One book I am reading right now is Reuben L.F. Habito’s marvelous Living Zen, Loving God. A Filipino Jesuit priest who has studied Zen since 1971, Habito’s book has a fresh, nonchalant perspective on Zen not seen since perhaps William Johnston’s classic book published more than 30 years ago. 

I found Habito’s ability to integrate Zen practice with his Christian faith to be particularly enlightening, if I may use such a word.  As Habito’s describes them, the Four Vows of the Boddhisattva — the desire to seek the liberation of all sentient beings even before that of oneself — can easily be harmonized with the Christian initiate’s vow to put the will of God before one’s own desires. 

“Be it done unto me according to His will,” as the Blessed Virgin Mary told the angel, in the Gospel account of the Annunciation.  “Not my will, but thine,” said Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

A wonderful book… well worth a read.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Yoga Therapy and a Return to Eden

I just finished reading Leo Damrosch’s magisterial 2005 biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius) and I’ve been thinking a lot about how Rousseau’s vision ties in neatly with what Christian Yoga is all about. (Full disclosure: My wife hates Rousseau because he forced his lifelong mistress, Therese Levasseur, to give up their five children to foundling homes and then had the temerity to instruct women on why they should breastfeed their children and raise them according to his precepts.)

Rousseau, born in Switzerland in 1712, was basically a professional vagabond and loafer who ran away from his home in Geneva at the age of 16, was almost entirely self-taught, and who earned his living through menial jobs, copying musical manuscripts and writing books that both titillated and outraged most of Europe. Rousseau’s basic argument is that “civilization,” far from being an engine of progress and advancement, is actually a corrosive, even destructive force. Read more

Download Free Book on Christian Zen

May 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Christian Zen

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.

thomashand.jpgWe, 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.

Jesuit Teaches Class on Patanjali’s Sutras


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.
Read more

Christian Perspective on Yoga

April 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Yoga and Catholicism


By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun

With its elegant, aging cathedrals spread out across the countryside, Roman Catholicism is Canada‘s largest official religion.

But with hundreds of stylish new studios opening up across Canadian cities, sometimes it seems as if Catholicism’s strongest new “competitor” is yoga.

Tension simmers between these traditions of the East and West, with polls suggesting each draws the support or interest of roughly 40 per cent of the Canadian population.

Yoga practitioners often dismiss Catholicism as a doctrinaire, uptight, hierarchical religion. Catholics often write off yoga as self-indulgent exercise — and, at worst, a heretical form of Hindu spirituality that could open practitioners to satanic forces. Read more

The Origins of Christian Yoga



By Ganga Kali Das Jaya

When I was about 25 years old and I was a novice in a Franciscan monastery, we had a monk who worked very hard, slept very little and was always so busy and one day I asked him “what is the secret of your health?”

“Yoga” he said “I practice Yoga”. I asked him to teach me and he lent me a book called “La Voie Du Silence” by Jean Dechanet ( a Benedictine monk) First Edition of this book, published in French, was in 1956.

I cannot speak to you about Yoga and Christianity without mentioning my gratitude to this French Catholic priest who, some 40 years ago gave not only me but many Christians a memorable introduction to Yoga. Up to today, his name is still known, his books are still in their libraries, in many a Catholic monastery and convent because of his rendering accessible the exercises and philosophy of Yoga to Christian contemplative minds. Read more

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