Yoga is prelude to prayer – Ryan

October 20, 2014

SHERWOOD PARK – Christians need help in coming to a higher appreciation of the role of their bodies in their spiritual lives, says Father Thomas Ryan. One practice that can help is yoga.

Ryan said contrary to common opinion, yoga is not a religion but a science, philosophy and spiritual practice.

"Yoga for me is just one possible way for Christians to come to feel more comfortable in their body and learn how to go to God through their bodies."

Ryan spoke during a workshop Oct. 6 that was part of the Strathcona County Ecumenical Mission.

Yoga was developed to help people meditate better, Ryan said. After doing yoga, a person feels more relaxed, grounded and centred.

The stretching and deep breathing of yoga is one way to release tension and stress from one's body so that one is able to pray, he said.

Christianity places a high value on the person as embodied, but most Christians do not give their bodies a role in their spiritual practice, he said.

"We need some help here." In Hinduism, although the body has no importance after death, during one's life, Hindus ascribe a significant role to it, Ryan said.