Item description for Spiritual Excercises: Joining Body and Spirit in Prayer by Nancy Roth...
Overview Discover new connections between physical and spiritual well-being and learn what your body can teach you about holiness. Roth describes physical disciplines such as Pilates, Tai Chi, dance, and strength training, discusses how each form of exercise provides a metaphor for the spiritual journey, and shows how to integrate them into spiritual practice.
"For just strolling, walking, and running are bodily exercises, so spiritual exercises are methods of preparing the soul," wrote St. Ignatius in his "Spiritual Exercises." In her homage to this classic, Nancy Roth offers a rationale and overview of contemporary prayer practices that prepare the soul in the here and now through a variety of exercises that honor the link between "body" and spirit" and lead the body to express itself in prayer.
To help us in our quest to integrate physical well-being with spiritual practice, Roth introduces and leads us through many different disciplines, including Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, dance, strength training, and aerobic exercises. After summarizing their origins, she describes each discipline clearly, with three or four examples, and then discusses how this particular form of exercise provides a metaphor for the spiritual journey. Other sections discuss breathing and posture, alignment, and progressive relaxation, while the final chapter helps us think through all the different offerings presented here and decide which we might incorporate into our own lives of prayer."
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Reviews - What do customers think about Spiritual Exercises: Joining Body and Spirit in Prayer?
Our bodies are truly temples of the Living God Oct 18, 2008
This book is as the author promises...a smorgasbord of spiritual "excercises" or practices that you can choose from to offer to God with your body. She is thoughtful and her treatment of these excercises leads the reader in Peace and adventure. You can learn a small sampling of many practices and choose which suits you best - you can learn how to offer your body as living sacrifice. She also acts as guide to other resources to further your quest. After this I came to this site and bought all the books by this author, and next to Organic Prayer, this one ties for my favorite.Organic Prayer: A Spiritual Gardening Companion
More from my third favorite Episcopal priest Jun 15, 2006
After the two chaplains who served at my old boarding school, Rev. Roth is my favorite Episcopal priest, and certainly my favorite, bar none, priest-cum-author-cum-dancer-cum-musician. I enjoyed her "Invitation to Christian Yoga" and gave it a favorable review, even though I am a lapsed Episcopalian. Her latest book, "Spiritual Exercises", extends ideas from "Invitation to Christian Yoga" connecting movement, exercise, and health with spiritual well-being and prayer.
The foundation for Rev. Roth's "Spiritual Exercises" comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola:
"For just as strolling, walking, and running are physical exercises, so spiritual exercises are methods of preparing and disposing the soul to free itself from all inordinate attachments, and after accomplishing this, of seeking and discovering the Divine Will regarding the disposition of one's life, thus insuring the salvation of his soul."
This always sounded vaguely Buddhist to me, with its ideas of freeing oneself from attachments, but I leave that to the theologians. "Spiritual Exercises" serves as a how-to guide for incorporating various forms of exercise--including Pilates, Tai Chi, Hatha Yoga, dance, strength training, and aerobic exercises--with our daily spiritual practice and greater life journey towards the Godhead. This book was not meant to be exhaustive on any of the exercise methods presented, but it does give a brief background for each and three or four sample exercises. The curious student may then further explore on her own any of the techniques described in the book and return to it as a reminder and guide on how to develop and maintain spiritual awareness during those exercises. All the exercises, that is, except for Yoga.
I recently described the burgeoning Christian Yoga movement to a lovely South-Asian Hindu friend of mine who found the whole idea somewhat mystifying and pointed out that Yoga was not simply an advanced form of calisthenics, but a way of connecting with the ever-present Divine, of actually experiencing it in the form of higher and higher levels of enlightenment, which runs completely contrary to traditional Christian ideas of a Creator separate from His creation and the exclusive belief in One God as the fountainhead of all that is holy.
Considering these objections regarding the mutual exclusivity of Yoga and traditional Christianity, I hereby propose a new form of Christian Yoga to be named Gnostic Yoga, in which the beliefs of the early Christian Gnostics are combined with Yogic practices as a way of accessing the divine element within the individual. As we can only speculate on what the early Christian Gnostics actually and specifically believed, I feel Gnostic Yoga will help avoid theological tension among practitioners of Yoga who also proclaim themselves Christian. All they need do now is proclaim themselves Gnostic Christians. This is the escape clause that allows for direct participation with the divine. Without it, practitioners of Christian Yoga risk eternal damnation.
As soon as I Clear, I will write the manual on Gnostic Yoga, and for a measly $19.95, you too can reap all the benefits of Yoga without the potential costs to your eternal soul.