"The spiritual life is a grace with which we must co-operate."
— Joan Chittister
Melina Emily Thomas is a writer, activist, and certified yoga instructor who works with the Abbey of the Arts and teaches a variety of classes and workshops. This paperback is an exquisite, lyrical, and practice-oriented exploration of wisdom for daily life as manifested in two traditions — Benedictine spirituality and yoga. We see how yoga and contemplative Christianity are allies in the quests for wellness, personal renewal, and wholeness.
In the first chapter, "Stepping Onto the Path of Practice," Thomas writes:
"Balanced living in spirit, mind, and body is a dynamic conversation between steadiness and motion, work and prayer, sound and silence, activity and rest. Study and application of the balancing way of Benedictine spirituality and yoga are useful markers on the path. Their wisdom has endured the test of time with its evolving cultural norms, politics, theology, technology, and medicine precisely because these traditions bring a steadying dialogue within an ever changing world."
Those who choose to walk the path of sacred balance seek progress, not perfection. Here are some of the routes that can be taken: humility, obedience, stability and conversation, hospitality, daily rhythms, seasonal rhythms, silence, and Sabbath. Each chapter begins with commentary on the Benedictine and yogic expressions of these principles. Thomas also draws from the traditional health system of Ayurveda.
Thomas then provides a treasure-trove of practices for each route: questions for reflection, a wellness practice, meditations, yoga poses, and more. The book ends with a section on resources for further study and a helpful glossary.
This is a unique book that we found both inspiring and practical. By identifying the bridges between Benedictine spirituality and yoga, Thomas reveals the richness of multifaith spirituality.