Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Father Ryan is an ordained Paulist. The Paulist Community is a society of apostolic life in the Roman Catholic Church. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Tom did his graduate studies in theology at the Washington (D.C.) Theological Union and the University of Geneva. His first encounter with yoga came in 1991 during a study sabbatical in world religions at Shantivanam ashram in South India, at the time directed by interfaith dialogue pioneer Fr. Bede Griffiths, OSB. The daily yoga session at the ashram was followed by a period of quiet sitting in meditation and gave Fr. Tom, who had been meditating daily for 15 years, a personal experience of how hatha yoga calms the body and focuses the mind, effectively preparing the whole organism for meditation. He subsequently undertook a serious study of the dynamics of yoga and, upon his return to North America, seeing how yoga was going mainstream, became a trained instructor so as to assist the many Christians who were engaging with the practice of yoga to do so in a way coherent with their own faith understanding. His writings and retreats led the way towards the founding of an international network of Christian teachers of yoga and the creation of this website by teachers within that network.
Fr. Tom’s ministry has been largely centered around the work for Christian unity and interfaith dialogue and collaboration. He directed the Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism for 14 years, working in all ten provinces of Canada. He subsequently spearheaded the founding of Unitas in Montreal, an ecumenical center for spirituality and Christian meditation co-sponsored by eight different denominations. He served as its director for five years prior to answering the call of his community in January of 2000 to found and develop the work of the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations now located in Boston, which remains his full time ministry.
Father Tom is the author of 15 books, including Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice and the DVD Yoga Prayer. For more information on Father Ryan, visit http://www.tomryancsp.org