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

Via Todd Mayville
on May 28, 2009
get elephant's newsletter


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!)


About Todd Mayville

Todd is a single dad of four diverse and lively kids, and is an English teacher and climbing team coach at a local public high school. A rock climber, cyclist and avid reader, Todd also practices yoga and meditation as often as he possibly can, which helps him stay at least a little centered and sane.


12 Responses to “Book review: Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality (Russill Paul)”

  1. This is fascinating. I've been planning for a long time to write a blog called "Does your brain care whether you belief in Yoga or Jesus?". Thanks for the review.

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. L.N. says:

    so get rid of all the lights in your house. they were invented by thomas edison, who was a theosophist – not a christian.

  3. cottonyoga says:

    I've felt closer to God on my yoga mat than I've ever felt in a church. Being close-minded is not the answer here.

  4. […] is yoga still yoga if it’s separated from its spiritual […]

  5. […] Review: Jesus in the Lotus: The Mystical Doorway between Christianity and Yogic Spirituality | eleph…. 0 people like this post. Like  Tweet This!Share this on FacebookShare this on […]

  6. The idea that there is "one true path", and the religious fundamentalism like this that it generates, is inherently at odds with Yoga, and with the much of mainstream religion, for that matter. Even a leader like the Pope, not noted for his liberal stances, is not so radical, but rather ecumenical, in his outlook. It's true that Yoga has its own fundamentalists. But they are relatively rare and isolated.

    Riz, we wish you well, but you may as well be on a different planet when you try to relate to most people here. There is just no common ground for even beginning a dialog. You might as well be speaking Martian.

    Bob Weisenberg
    <a href=”” target=”_blank”>

  7. […] Jesus in the Lotus by Russill Paul.  A wonderful text for demonstrating the links and commonalities between […]

  8. Galen Gdovin says:

    I thought you might like this 🙂

    Did anyone see my lost carrier? 🙂

  9. […] book was my first exploration of Christian meditation pioneer and Benedictine monk John Main. As a Christian fairly new to meditation, I found the introductory biography very informational and not […]

  10. […] up in a fundamental Christian home, you wouldn’t expect a girl like me to have any chance at turning into a soul-surfing hippy […]

  11. Signe says:

    Thank you for your comment. However I am a Messianic Jew who believes in Jesus and is a yoga teacher. I am on the path the Holy Spirit is leading me down. Living out Rom 12:1. I am growing closer to God and so are my students. If your personal path is closed to yoga then obey God and don't do it. But please do not judge.
    Peace be with you,

  12. […] ~“Each man must therefore discover this Centre in himself, this Ground of his being, this Law of his life. It is hidden in the depths of every soul, waiting to be discovered. It is the treasure hidden in a field, the pearl of great price. It is the one thing which is necessary, which can satisfy all our desires and answer all our needs…It is the original paradise from which we have all come.” –Bede Griffiths […]