May 28, 2009

Book review: Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality (Russill Paul)

Some years ago I became aware of the issues between yoga and spirituality when a student on my climbing team approached me and told me that he wouldn’t be able to do yoga in training because his pastor told him that yoga was satanic (in spite of the fact that I had no plans to address the spiritual side of yoga); that was the first time I became aware that issues existed between the Christian and Yogic communities.  Russill Paul’s book, Jesus in the Lotus, bridges that gap and discusses how each spiritual discipline can actually reinforce and strengthen the other through an interspiritual approach rather than a mindset of exclusivity.  Paul, himself a Benedictine monk and yogi, trained under the renowned Bede Griffiths, so is intimately aware of the outlooks of both worlds as well as the ability to integrate the two without compromising either.  The book is particularly challenging for both groups as Paul does not hesitate to address the inconsistencies within each faith; but rather than a focus on shortcomings, the text instead focuses on the similarities between the two, even including a series of exercises designed to encourage interspiritual practice as well as a list of resources for the practitioners who wish to advance themselves along their (intertwined) paths. From New World Library and available at your local, independent bookstore.  (Tell ’em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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