Some suggestions for Lent, an Ignatian Yoga Lenten video, some recent Ignatian Yoga videos, and a link to the The Examen, a weekly podcast guided by Fr. James Martin, SJ.
I go to my mat to wonder about whether a connection exists between Lent and my yoga practice, and if so, what that connection is…and I am filled with wonder.
I begin in Childs Pose and consider how during Lent my Christian tradition encourages me to pray, fast, and give alms.
Prayer, fasting, almsgiving…three disciplines that my yoga practice also leads me to.
As I’ve been editing and posting Father Clooney’s reflections on Lent and the Yoga Sutras for the past few weeks, I’ve been struck--again--by how much the practice of yoga prepares the body for prayer and meditation, for being still before God.
Now I take up the sixth and seventh of these limbs, those dealing most directly with meditation: holding (dharana) and meditation (dhyana)... The place where one holds one's attention could therefore be entirely neutral with respect to our relationship to God, or Christ; or it could be a simple, long gaze upon what is local for the Christian in Lent, in Holy Week, the Christ with whom we sit at Table, or with whom we pray in the Garden, or at whose Cross we stand.
The next section of the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras is the famous account of the eight-limbs (asta anga) of yoga, a famed list that is most often used to structure any account of yoga. Contrasted with some of the more subtle points I had to deal with in my previous entries in this series (one, two, three) this is a list that seems rather more easily useful in Lent, particularly if we think of Lent as a time when we are to do things that inculcate focus and discipline.