Yoga Prayer

Fr. Thomas Ryan
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Yoga



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I have a few yoga workouts. Mainly, they are shorter in length and I use them as options when stretching. I do have a few gentle workouts that include the Firmís Power Yoga and Suzanne Deasonís Yoga for Weight Loss. Generally, I do traditional workouts with dumbbells for my strength work.

I am not sure how I ended up finding this workout, but it was a part of some investigation on my part of how I could include physical activity in my reflective quiet time. The premise of this workout is that Christians can use yoga to experience their own faith more deeply and express it physically. To that end, seven musical sequences are offered that stress different aspects of yoga Ė stretch, balance, strength Ė and each is set to a Christian song or chorus. Each musical selection is fairly simple (most are chorus style) and stresses a Christian theme. The yoga moves loosely match the words or theme of the song. This workout is led by Father Thomas Ryan, a Catholic priest and certified Kripalu yoga teacher.

The DVD menu is as follows:

> How to use this program
> Introduction
> Play a Musical Sequence (1-7)
> Play an Instructional Sequence (1-7)
> Yoga and Prayer: A Refection
> About Fr. Ryan, CSP
> About Sounds True
> About Paulist Productions

In each of the Instructional Sequences, Fr. Ryan teaches the sequence with no music. He gives form pointers for the moves and at the end of each sequence briefly stresses the spiritual concept of the sequence. Heís an okay instructor. Obviously, he assumes that you know the moves because he doesnít teach HOW to do them. In the instructional sequences, he will often give a set of poses and then says that these will be repeated through the song. So, itís not an exact match to the musical sequence. Then, in each of the Musical Sequences, one complete song is played and he does the routine with no speaking at all. In both cases, if you donít stop the DVD, it will go on to the next sequence.

Donít hold me to this exactly, but it does something like this. The first couple of sequences are more stretch/warm-up oriented, the next three incorporate more balance moves, and the last two are more strength oriented. These are general, not absolute, categorizations. The songs on this DVD include:

> Grail Prayer
> Blest Are They
> Prayer for Peace
> Peace Prayer
> How Lovely
> To You I Lift Up My Soul
> Take Lord, Receive

The set is in colors of burnt orange or gold. Father Ryan is dressed in cropped pants and a T shirt of complementary colors. There are candles and a couple of Christian symbols. He does the sequences on a mat on a platform in the middle of the set. He is the only person in this DVD. He comes across as an experienced instructor and is dedicated to the premise of the workout.

As far as I know, this workout has been released only on DVD. You can get it from various online vendors; I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com. You can read more about it and see clips at http://shop.store.yahoo.com/soundstruestore/vt00854d.html. The DVD cover shown on that page is shot on the set used in the DVD.

For me, this was one of those unexpected finds that worked out really well. I will be keeping this DVD and find I use it not often, but regularly.

Instructor Comments:
To me, he comes across as an experienced instructor who is teaching a series of moves to people who already know how to do the individual poses. He seems calm and capable.

Laura S.

03/03/2006