PraXis Challenge Week: Bonus Round 2 – The Race is Run

Your race is run. 2012 USA Olympic Track and Field Trials Haywood Field, Eugene, Or . Photo: John Barnhart McClanahan@Photo Run Victah1111@aol.com 631-741-1865 http://www.photorun.NET

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Congratulations to all those in Group 2 for completing the PraXis Wellness Challenge. Your race is run. PraXis has been a small dose of the askesis, the training of body, mind, and soul, which was once common for the Ancient Church. We’ve updated it, of course. But the spirit continues. And I hope that it was an opportunity for growth and communion for you all.

The community at Brookside Church where many of the little praxercises in Group 2 came from, has embraced my wife Jamie and me. It has been such a blessing to get to know some of the good folks there. I look forward to continuing to see you on alternate Sundays. My wife Jamie grew up in the UCC world. She likes Brookside, and it is a joy for me that she feels so comfortable there. And I will split my time between Brookside and my usual haunt for the Holy Ghost, Trinity Randolph.

PLEASE TAKE THE EXIT WELLNESS SURVEY IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY

This week’s final Zoom session will be the Tuesday evening, 6:30 pm time. Jamie and I will be in Los Angeles. We hope to Zoom with you from the beach at Playa Del Rey. Won’t that be fancy? Fingers crossed.

The theme for our final outing will be the New Creation. You can find the prayers and flow on the blog under week 1.

As with Group 1, additional resources are HERE to help support your own praxis if you wish to continue.

We will tentatively have a little graduation meal on Zoom and at Brookside on Dec. 8, at 6:30 pm. I hope we can see you there.

As for what is in the future for PraXis, we would love to “plant” a praxis at Brookside. I am looking at what might work in terms of continuing the program in a way that would enable us to hand it off to someone.

If we do this, look to Wed at 6:30 pm as an ongoing timeslot. But we will regroup in the new year and have more for you think.

It is appropriate to end this program at Thanksgiving and during the blessed Fast of the Nativity (I can hear your eyes rolling :). We are so grateful to all and primed for the coming of Advent. It makes my spirit sore.

Glory to God, in all forms.

Love to you all on this blessed season. Feast and be merry.

In Christ and friendship.

Cornelius

SESSION

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST  
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380

PraXis Week: Bonus Round 1

On Wednesday Nov 3., we had ten praxercisers including folks at Brookside and on Zoom.

Peace be with you!

It’s an exciting time here at the PraXis Challenge as we wrap up before the holidays. Here is what is going on this week.

Group 2, folks connected with Brookside Church, have two more weeks. Group 1, you are done with the Challenge! Alleliuah-High-Five!

This Wednesday, we will meet at Brookside Church in person and on Zoom. If you want to bring some food for the table, please let us know. Otherwise I think Jamie and I will be making some kind of salad. Next week, our final Challenge session will be on Tuesday, over Zoom, only.

Group 2: This week’s theme is The Heart. You can see the prayers and theme for this week’s session here. In terms of your fast, you should be either expanding your 16/8 fast, or trying a one-to-three day fast this week. Resources on that are at the bottom of this post.

Group 1: Do you feel any more well? We hope so. We we hope you will continue to attend sessions, until Nov 23, when Group 2 is finished. We will have some kind of graduation ceremony for all the little praxicimos after Thanksgiving. So, stay tuned.

Everyone, please sign the attached waiver below. It is required by the Vancouver School of Theology. Next week you will be getting the exit survey. This is crucial for the project’s research.

Then what? 

Despite the obvious challenges of COVID, and our move from one coast to the other, Jamie and I really feel this project has been a great success. 

The Capstone’s goal is to produce an organizational plan that will propose an answer to the question, what’s next? What does God want for this project? Should it be a free curriculum? A Christian Yoga studio? A book or podcast? We will be working on that question in the coming weeks. I have a Capstone presentation before a committee over Zoom in December. If you would like to sit in on it, let me know. We have a few “seats” available if you want to see all the details first hand.

Join us at the table! Cindy’s vegan chili was AmAaaazing.

I will also be speaking with Pastor Nicollette at Brookside Community Church to see what opportunities might be present in a continued partnership. So, long story short. Stay tuned. We will have something for you before Nov 23. I will also include a blog post about what I learned during the challenge. I’ll tell you one take away right now, the 16-hour fast was a game changer for me. (I know. Not what most people want to hear). It yielded the most benefits in the shortest time. I was completely surprised. But, each body is different.

Until then, if you want to pursue a praxis (practice) of your own, here are some resources we recommend. 

Diet-Fasting:

  • Fastic app The free level of this app is just a timer, but I find it helpful in keeping motivated to do short-term fasting. It shows you the different phases your body goes through during the different hours of your fast. It also awards you little prizes for continued practice, which does provide a slight motivational incentive for me.
  • The Daniel Fast, books, and app. As we’ve mentioned, the Daniel fast is a plant-based diet challenge. It is the most popular ascetic practice among mainstream Christians. Susan Gregory’s books are easy to read and filled with useful recipes, and resources. The Daniel Fast app is a paid service. I haven’t used it yet but I plan to.
The Headspace app, cost money but it is a great introduction to mindfulness techniques that can be applied to contemplative prayer.


Mindfulness-Contemplation:

Mindfulness is everywhere on the internet but you really don’t need to know a lot, you just need to practice it. Mindfulness apps tend to be timers but also include podcasts and other inspiration and motivational content. 

  • Centering Prayer App. This app produced by Contemplative Outreach, the world’s leading Centering Prayer promoter, is a simple timer. Useful if that’s all you really want.
  • Insight timer app. The free level of this app is fairly robust and offers content, podcasts, live teachers sessions as well as a timer that tracks your practice. You will find a wide range of spiritual philosophies and traditions discussed here.
  • Headspace app. This app is not free, but it is an excellent “set it and forget it” guide to entering into a mindfulness practice. This is a completely non-spiritual approach to mindfulness. It uses entertaining cartoons and recent science to walk you through the ideas and practices that make up wellness-driven mindfulness practices.

Fitness-Askesis:

  • BetterMe app. There are so many fitness resources out there, obviously. I will only recommend BetterMe, because the free level of this app allows for a wide range of customization for fitness goals, based on body type and other factors. It also provides tracking for fasting and makes a number of other wellness recommendations as well as providing you with a guided daily fitness routine customized to your settings.

Lastly but not leastly:

  • RuahSpaceholy yoga and spiritual practices. Our friends Pastor Phil Vestal and his wife Erin offer a membership-based online ministry that includes resources and guidance on sanctified yoga and contemplative practices. He and his wife do podcasts and spiritual direction services.  Ruah Space really covers much of what we went over in PraXis. You can get a sample of what they do by visiting their free YouTube Channel.

Hope to see you at one of this week’s sessions.

So excited to see where God will lead us all next!

~Maranatha!

Sessions

This Wednesday we are on Zoom, AND at Brookside Community Church in Mendham, NJ. If you wish to attend in-person, please arrive a good 10 minutes before we begin. Masks are required. 

Note, if you wish to have chair yoga available, let us know a day or two ahead of time at info4praxiswellness@gmail.com and we can accommodate you.


Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST  
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, EST – In person and on Zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523

Thursday 10 am, EST – Fitness oriented wake-up practice
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8570180783

PraXis Week 8: Transfiguration

You are transformed

Zoom links below. Please note have a new link for Thursday sessions.

WORKOUT OF THE PEOPLE

Breast Plate of St. Patrick

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.” [Psalm 104:1]

In the bible, white clothing represent purity, and clothing made of light represents divinity or divine transformation.

We see it in Daniel [7:9] where the mythic vision of the enthroned God, the Ancient of Days, is clothed in white. The angels come dressed in white in Mark [16:5], Luke [24:4], Matthew [28:3], John [20:12], Acts [1:10,10:30] and Revelations [19:14]. As do the Saints, those who have labored in grace, and now sit in the Lord’s throne room, as we see in Revelation. [Rev 4:4, Rev 3:18, Rev 3:5, Rev 17:4, Rev 3:5, Rev 6:11, Rev 7:13.]

In the transfiguration, Matt [17], Mark [9], and Luke [9], Jesus climbs atop a mountain (Mount Tabor according to tradition) and “… he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.” Then Peter, James and John, “ fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” [Matthew 17:2, and 6b].

The ancients believed that seeing the divine light transforms the witness. So the transfiguration is also about Peter, James, and John and all who strived for the Saintly pinnacle of our journey as disciples. Describing Jesus’s shining face on Mount Tabor, and that of Moses on Sinai before him, Paul says that “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another…” [2 Corin. 3:18].

First reading – a reader will be selected

Romans 13:12-14
The night is far gone; the day is at hand.
So then, let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Let us walk properly as in the daytime,
not in [lewd feasting]* and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality,
not in quarreling and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here]

Rev. 3:5-6
“The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments,
and I will never blot their** name out of the book of life.
I will confess their name before my Father and before his angels.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Blessings to you all who have completed this 8-week challenge. You have, in a small way, labored up the mountain of askesis, the training of the body, mind, and spirit. With faith, hard work, and grace, I hope we all will reach the summit and receive the loving vision of God’s light as we continue in the shining raiments that is our life in Christ.

Thanksgiving

Galatians 3:26
… in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is no longer Jew or Greek,
there is no longer slave or free,
there is no longer male and female;
for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
And if you belong to Christ,
then you are Abraham’s offspring,
heirs according to the promise.

Retire to the table

Fasting

Group 2- Try the a one day fast. See bottom of Week 6 blog.

Group 1 – Devise your own fasting routine. Try it this week and we’ll talk about the results next week.

Sessions

This Wednesday we are on Zoom, AND at Brookside Community Church in Mendham, NJ. If you wish to attend in-person, please arrive a good 10 minutes before we begin. Masks are required. 

Note, if you wish to have chair yoga available, let us know a day or two ahead of time at info4praxiswellness@gmail.com and we can accommodate you.

This session has been cancelled.
Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, EST – In person and on Zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523

Thursday 10 am, EST – Fitness oriented wake-up practice
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8570180783

*-here the word is

κῶμος (kōmos) Meaning: “orgy, revelry, carousing primarily a festive procession, a merry-making; in NT a revel, lewd, immoral feasting, Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1Pet. 4:3” Stepbible. This word is sometimes rendered as orgy, but because sexual immorality is mentioned in the same passage, revelry or immoral feasting may be the better translation.

PaXis Week 7: (In)Christ

[Links to Zoom sessions and details about in-person session below ]

WORKOUT OF THE PEOPLE

Breast Plate of St. Patrick

Introduction

Be prepared to make a very short statement about Who (or What) Christ is to you– 5 minutes

It is said that ancient people, especially mystics like Paul, did not distinguish between external conditions and external ones. The self was a porous being.+ One could have God within them, as well as be in God.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ.” [Ephesians 1:31] “For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus.” [Thessalonians 2:14] “To whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you..” [Colossians 1:27]

Recently scholars remind us scripture assumes this sense of mutual abiding*, or “participation.”** Τhis is a “cosmological vision that sees the interdependence and interpenetration of all things and their mutual relationship as the deepest web of reality. … we are in as much as we participate in the whole and allow the whole to participate, i.e. to express itself in us. I am, inasmuch as the others are in me, inasmuch as I am involved as I take part, i.e., I participate in the entire process of the universe.”***  

First Prayer
Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

John 14:18-20
I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 
Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; 
because I live, you will live also. 
In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 
He who has my commandments and keeps them, 
he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, 
and I will love [them] + and manifest myself to [them].


Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here]
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

[Colossians, 1:19-20]

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Thanksgiving

John 14: 25-26
I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, 
will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 
Peace I leave with you; 
my peace I give to you; 

Peace be with you

Retire to the table

Fasting

Group 2- second week of 16-hour fast. Prepare for the one-day fast next week. See details at the bottom of this post.

Group 1 – Devise your own fasting routine. Try it this week and we’ll talk about the results next week.

Sessions

This this Wednesday we are on Zoom, AND at Brookside Community Church in Mendham, NJ. If you wish to attend in-person, please arrive a good 10 minutes before we begin. Masks are required.

Note, if you wish to have chair yoga available, let us know a day or two ahead of time at info4praxiswellness@gmail.com and we can accommodate you.

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380
Meeting ID: 313 096 5380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, EST – In person and on Zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523
Meeting ID: 814 5347 5523

Thursday 10 am, EST – Fitness oriented wake-up practice
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163137582
Meeting ID: 841 6313 758

+ Harry Maier, New Testament Christianity in the Roman World (Essentials of Biblical Studies), p. 180
*Raimon Panikkar, Christophany [page pending]
**E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, p. 435
*** Anamd Amaladass, Pannikkar’s Quest for an Alertnative Way of Thinking and Action, p 54


PraXis Week 6: The “Mind”

To the ancient mystics the mind was not just about thinking, but also about a wordless and imageless spiritual awarenes.

[News about our in-person sessions with Zoom below]

WORKOUT OF THE PEOPLE

Epiclesis to the Holy Spirit

Introduction

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” [Romans 12:2]

Greek words for knowing, frame of mind, understanding, and even the heart will show up in scripture simply as “mind.” In Romans and Ephesians, the word mind is actually the Greek word nous. For ancients mystics like St. Basil the Great, this word meant mind but also “attention”*. It is the highest faculty of human nature with which on “sees and comprehends God.”**

For the Eastern Church, a hard heart dulls the nous, while stillness, prayer, love and self-discipline are “the four-horse chariot bearing the nous to heaven.”***  Watchful prayer (nepsis) steers the attention away from the unhealthy, and literally focuses the nous into the heart. Once there it brings metanoia, literally after-thought, or what we call a change of mind, or change of heart: repentance. 

So, in fasting the nous awakens to our unchecked physical cravings, what Paul called “the flesh.” In contemplative prayer the nous awakens to the comings and goings of the mind. Yoga does this too. And in this way we prepare ourself for an encounter with God.

“For to set the mind**** on the [cravings of] flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”  [Romans, 8:6]

First Prayer
Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

Ephesians 4:17-24
Now this I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 
They are darkened in their understanding, and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, 
due to their hardness of heart. 
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 
But that is not the way you learned Christ!
assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, 
which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 
and to put on the new self, 
created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here]
1 Cor 14:15
I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Thanksgiving

Philippians 4:4-9
[The author states]
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 
The Lord is at hand; 
do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 
What you have learned and perceived and heard and seen in me—
practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.


Fasting For Those in Week 4
Try the 16-hour fast. See the details and link at the bottom of this post.

Fasting For Those in Week 6
One day total fast

If you’re up for it, the 24 hour fast is your next challenge. Don’t worry, you can’t fail because it’s just an experiment. Think about yourself as the scientist. Take notes of your journey and see what you uncover. Here are 7 tips to help you prepare for your endeavor.

1) Work up to it. Start with a 16 hour fast. If you tried this, you already learned the majority of the time fasting is spent sleeping. Start after your last meal and break the fast with a late breakfast. Viola! There you have a 16 hour fast.

2) Eat a more substantial meal around 4-5 pm before starting your 24 hour fast. We also recommend eating vegan or vegetarian the week prior to a long fast to help prepare your system.

3) Use sleep to your advantage. As you’ve noted from the 16 hour fast, it’s a lot easier to not eat when you’re sleeping. Also, sometimes napping helps if you’re running low on energy. Be gentle to yourself.

4) Drink lots of fluids. We can’t say it enough how important water is to your body. This is especially true when you’re fasting. Your body has an opportunity to flush your system and drinking plenty of fluids helps with this process.

5) Stay busy. This could be in action through helping others or meditation, prayer, journaling about your journey or what you’re learning about yourself and your relationship with food. You will have a new lot of free time when you would normally be eating food. Remember the benefits of fasting.

6) Listen to your body. It’s telling you things all the time and during the 24 hour fast, it may be especially loud. Be gentle and stay positive. If you have a headache, it may be due to your body flushing out toxins. If you have trouble with blood sugar levels, this fast may not be for you. Remember it’s just an experiment and you can stop at any time.

7) After the 24 hour fast, ease in to eating. Try out some fruits and vegetables then ease your way in to eating a bigger meal.

Best of luck to you on your experiment with the 24 hour fast. Here’s information on the Master Cleanse if you wish to try it. It basically consists of drinking lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup throughout the day. The detoxification prior to the fast is completed with laxative tea.

SESSIONS

We are LIVE and IN-PERSON this Wednesday at Brookside Community Church. At last!

This week we are very excited to be live and in-person, as well as on Zoom, at Brookside Community Church in Mendham, NJ. If you wish to attend in-person, please arrive a good 10 minutes before we begin. Masks are required. Please reach out at info4praxiswellness@gmail.com to get the latest update on if food will be provided or whether you should bring your own.

Note, if you wish to have chair yoga available, let us know a day or two ahead of time at info4praxiswellness@gmail.com and we can accommodate you.

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380
Meeting ID: 313 096 5380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, EST – In person and on Zoom.
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523
Meeting ID: 814 5347 5523

Thursday 10 am, EST – Fitness oriented wake-up practice
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163137582
Meeting ID: 841 6313 758


*Letters 2, FC Vol. 13, p 7, Orthodox Psychotherapy, Hierotheos,  p 138
** Philokalia, 4, p 181f, Orthodox Psychotherapy, Heirotheos, p 1120
*** St Thalassios, Philokalia, 2, p 308, Orthodox Psychotherapy, Heirotheos, p 135
**** Here the word for mind is not nous, but froneō, meaning frame of mind or aspiration

PraXis Week 5: The Light

Walking the Way, takes us into the light

[Zoom links at the bottom of this post]

WORKOUT OF THE PEOPLE


Epiclesis to the Holy Spirit

Introduction

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

What is visible of God is light: the power and purity that radiates from God’s presence.

In the Greek version of the Old Testament that Paul knew, the Greek word doxa is used for what we call glory. Doxa, differs slightly from the Hebrew word for glory, ka.vod, which means honor, abundances and splendor. The Greek means praise but also radiant light. [See StepBible].

So in the Greek Old Testament, when Isaiah sees the cherubim worshiping God in the celestial throne room, they cry out “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory [light].” [Isaiah 6:3]

This them of glory and light runs deep in the New Testament. The light of God comes down to us on Earth through God’s Anointed One. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ [John 8-12]. And as Paul says, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory [light] of God in the face of Christ.” [2 Corin. 4:6] Jesus mysteriously shared the essence, the light, of God, so that this light can be shared with those who follow the Way. This light reside in your heart and when we can keep the vessel our heart clean, this light can shine out to others.

First Prayer
Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

Luke 11:34-35
Your eye is the lamp of your body. 
When your eyes are healthy,
your whole body also is full of light. 
But when they are unhealthy, 
your body also is full of darkness. 
See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here]

Ephesians 5: 8-10
For at one time you were in darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)
and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Flow
Tuesday and Wednesday Evening

4 Opening Set
Arms Raised
Forward Fold
Straight back, 1/2 rise
Forward Fold
Sweep up to raised arms
Hand to heart

Forward fold
Plank
Down Dog

4 Floor Series
Table
Child
Praise
Table
Cobra
Down Dog

Left foot forward lunge

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (left side)
Extended side angle stretch, 4 static breaths
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge

Stand up, turn to the long edge of the mat
3 Wide standing forward bends, 4 static breaths

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (right side)
Extended side-angle stretch, 4 static breaths (left side)
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge

Down Dog
Table
Turn onto back
Rest with knees up, feet on floor touching buttocks

4 Bridge series
Hug knees
Straighten legs up, arms out
Feet back to floor
Bridge

Turn over
3 Cobra
3 Seated Twist
Repose, 16 breaths of more

Thursday morning

3 Breathe into the heart, palms together at chest
2 Sun Salutations
Forward fold
Straight back, 1/2 rise
Plank
Down Dog
Left foot forward lunge

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (left side)
Extended side angle stretch, 4 static breaths
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge
Stand up, turn to the long edge of the mat
3 Wide standing forward bends, 4 static breaths
3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (right side)
Extended side-angle stretch, 4 static breaths (left side)
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge

3 Floor series
Table
Child
Praise
Table
Cobra
Down Dog

3 Boat, 4 static breaths
3 Bridge, 4 static breaths

Shoulder stand
(variations- legs up the wall, legs straight up in the air)

3 Locust
Child
3 Seated Twists
Repose, 16 breaths or more

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Thanksgiving

Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. 
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, 
but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  
In the same way, 
let your light shine before others, 
so that they may see your good works 
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Benediction, if someone has one to offer

Depart to the table

Cleaning the Vessel of the Light: Plant-Based Detoxing

Group 2

Continue to expand the number of days in which you have an exclusively plant-based diet. See the detox recommendations below. Try to apply these tips gradually in the coming weeks.

Group 1

This week try to expand the number of days that you stick to the 16-hour fast, while expanding your plant-based diet to the entire week. This is a time in which, we are preparing ourselves for prepare for a 1, 2, or 3-day liquids only fast next week.

Detoxing

These tips for the Daniel Plan detox are based on the book The Daniel Plan: 40 days to a healthier life by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, Mark Hyman.

In their book, they recommend detoxing to help with a longer fasting period.  They refer to fasting as being a mindful steward of the body to help inspire positive change in yourself to build a healthier community. In PraXis we talk about fasting as a tool for discernment. One way of doing this through diet is to mindfully focus on eating a plant-based diet. In doing so, we cut out foods that create toxicity in our body.  Because a whole foods-based diet removes sugary, fatty, chemical-laden, artificial, and inflammatory foods from the diet, they are sometimes called a detox or a cleanse

Here is a very simple break down with references of what to eat more of and a food list.  

What to eat:  
Real, fresh whole plant-based foods       
Create a menu plan

What to avoid:
Stimulants & sedatives:
alcohol, caffeine, etc. 
Processed/ fast food
(additives/ chemicals)
Artificial sweeteners
Sugar in any form
All dairy 
All gluten

HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTED MEALS

Recipe Links

Homemade açaí bowls

Butternut squash & broccoli salad

Raw Falafel Buddha Bowls

Sessions

ZOOM LINKS

Just a quick reminder of our new format. On Tuesday nights Jamie will model chair poses during our yoga practice. And on Thursday, we’ll have slightly more strength-based yoga aimed at energizing your Zoe [aliveness] in the morning!

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST – Includes chair yoga
This night will feature Jamie doing Chair Yoga for those with mobility challenges
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380
Meeting ID: 313 096 5380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523
Meeting ID: 814 5347 5523

Thursday 10 am, EST – Fitness oriented wake-up practice
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163137582
Meeting ID: 841 6313 758

PraXis Week 4: Love

The most consistent teaching in the New Testament

[Zoom links at the bottom of this post]

WORKOUT OF THE PEOPLE

Epiclesis to the Holy Spirit

Introduction

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7

To walk the in the Way of Christ, is to judge not, to forgive, to pray for your enemy, to live simple, honest and just lives and “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8. For “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:34-35

Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

The Way of Love
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love,
I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14 

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Flow
Tuesday and Wednesday Evening

4 Opening Set
Arms Raised
Forward Fold
Straight back, 1/2 rise
Forward Fold
Sweep up to raised arms
Hand to heart

Forward fold
Plank
Down Dog

4 Floor Series
Table
Child
Praise
Table
Cobra
Down Dog

Left foot forward lunge

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (left side)
Extended side angle stretch, 4 static breaths
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge

Stand up, turn to the long edge of the mat
3 Wide standing forward bends, 4 static breaths

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (right side)
Extended side-angle stretch, 4 static breaths (left side)
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge

Down Dog
Table
Turn onto back
Rest with knees up, feet on floor touching buttocks

4 Bridge series
Hug knees
Straighten legs up, arms out
Feet back to floor
Bridge

Turn over
3 Cobra
3 Seated Twist
Repose, 16 breaths of more

Thursday morning

3 Breathe into the heart, palms together at chest
2 Sun Salutations
Forward fold
Straight back, 1/2 rise
Plank
Down Dog
Left foot forward lunge

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (left side)
Extended side angle stretch, 4 static breaths
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge
Stand up, turn to the long edge of the mat
3 Wide standing forward bends, 4 static breaths
3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths (right side)
Extended side-angle stretch, 4 static breaths (left side)
Hand down on mat, left leg runner’s lunge

3 Floor series
Table
Child
Praise
Table
Cobra
Down Dog

3 Boat, 4 static breaths
3 Bridge, 4 static breaths

Shoulder stand
(variations- legs up the wall, legs straight up in the air)

3 Locust
Child
3 Seated Twists
Repose, 16 breaths or more

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Thanksgiving

1 John 4:9-12
This is how God showed his love among us: 
He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 
This is love: not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us and sent his Son as means of forgiving* our sins [debts]. 
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 
No one has ever seen God; 
but if we love one another, 
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 


Depart and Retire to the table – 30 minutes

Cycle One- 16 hour fast, expand to two or more days this week

Cycle Two- expand the plant based diet to two or more days a week

Pecan Breakfast Bar:

Vegan Fried Rice

Tropical Mango Quinoa Bowl

ZOOM LINKS

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST
This night will feature Jamie doing Chair Yoga for those with mobility challenges
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380
Meeting ID: 313 096 5380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, ESTJoin Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523
Meeting ID: 814 5347 5523

Thursday 10 am, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163137582
Meeting ID: 841 6313 758

*see propritiation, atonement StepBible commentary

PraXis Challenge, Week 3: The Spirit vs The Flesh, and the 16-Hour Fast

Why, oh why did I that last cookie…ok, last box of cookies…

Welcome to the PraXis Wellness Challenge, Week 3: The Spirit vs The Flesh
[Zoom links at the bottom of this post]

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. – Gal 5:16-17

As we said last week, the ancients saw the heart as the seat of our mind-body-spirit. And for the Apostle Paul the sarks, or “flesh” was “the seat of the Passions,” [Roman’s 8:1-3,5, Phil 3:3]. Here passion, is a term coming from Greek pathema, which means excessive reaction to what “befalls us.”  You might see the flesh as a kind of distracted, centerless source for the kind of bodily cravings that lead to addictions. The flesh is the opposite of the heart, the place where the Spirit dwells.

For this reason [the willpower of] the mind that is set on the [excesses of the] flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s [new] law [of being led by the Spirit]—indeed it cannot — Romans 8:7

Paul’s flesh vs spirit discourses are about inner conflict: a temptation to excess versus following the guidance of the Spirit. For Paul the guidance of the Spirit, is not about prescriptive religious rules, but about Christ’s new law of spiritual discernment (wisdom): the freedom to be lead directly by the Spirit. 

Fasting and discernment

Discerning what God wants for us often comes out of weighing our desires against scripture, the advice of our spiritual community, our experience, and by quieting oneself enough to hear the guidance of the Spirit that resides in our heart. Christians have often used fasting as a way to quiet the body and listen to the Spirit. Fasting also brings to the surface some of our bodily cravings that hide in our blind spots. In this way, fasting is a type of prayer, a type of silencing the flesh, that leads to hearing the Lord and helps us to bear the fruits of the Spirit [love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Gal. 5:22-23]

This week we begin the 16- hour fast. There is a lot of research out there about intermittent fasting. This blog from Harvard Health is an easy read.  

This week’s goal is to go all week without snacking between meals and or eating between the hours of 6 pm and 10 am. Layer that on top of your plant-based diet, and we’ll see what your results are in two weeks.

The Session

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

John 3:6-8
What is born of the flesh is flesh, 
and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Do not be astonished that I said to you, 
‘You must be born from above [born again].’ 

The wind blows where it chooses, 
and you hear the sound of it, 
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. 
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here

Romans 8:24-26
..if we hope for what we do not see, 
we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; 
for we do not know how to pray as we ought, 
but that very Spirit intercedes 
with sighs too deep for words.
  

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Flow

3 Breathe into the heart, palms together at chest
4 Sun Salutations
Forward fold
Straight back, 1/2 rise
Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Left foot forward lunge

3 Warrior II, 4 static breaths (left side)
Hands on hips, change feet
3 Warrior II, 4 static breaths (right side)
Hands on hips, change feet
3 Extended side-angle stretch, 4 static breaths (left side)
Hands on hips, change feet
3 Extended side-angle stretch, 4 static breaths (right side)

Mountain, 4 static breathes, hands at heart
Forward fold
Plank
Lower down to mat

3 Locust pose
3 Cobra, 4 static breathes
Down Dog

3 Floor series
Table
Child
Praise
Table
Down Dog

Plank, low down to the floor, and turn over to the back
3 Fish pose
3 Bridge pose, 4 static breaths

Repose or relaxation pose, 16 breaths or more

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Thanksgiving

Psalm 28: 7-9
Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Depart and Retire to the table – 30 minutes

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380
Meeting ID: 313 096 5380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, ESTJoin Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523
Meeting ID: 814 5347 5523

Thursday 10 am, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163137582
Meeting ID: 841 6313 7582

PraXis Challenge, Week 2: The Heart

Important Note: This Thursday’s session has been moved to Friday. The following week we will return to our usual schedule.

Welcome to the PraXis Wellness Challenge, Week 2. This week’s theme is the heart.

To the ancients, the heart was the center of our physical, emotional, and spiritual being. Intuition (knowing without thinking) occurred in the heart, not the brain. It drove the thoughts of the mind just as it drives the blood that powers the body. The heart was also the primary organ of spiritual perception. But like the physical heart that can suffer from fatty foods, the heart of the soul could get sick and clogged with toxic feelings, thoughts, and spirits. 

So, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” – Proverbs 4:23

The Session

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

Ephesians 1:17-21      
17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of glory, 
may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 
18 so that, 
with the eyes of your heart enlightened, 
you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, 
what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 
19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead 
and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, 
and above every name that is named, 
not only in this age 
but also in the age to come.

Rise and go to your mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina [more on lectio divina here]

Ezekiel 36:26
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Somatic prayer – [Sanctified yoga] 20 minutes

Flow

3 Breathe into the heart, palms together at chest
4 Sun Salutations

Mountain, 4 breaths
3 Triangle, 4 static breaths
Mountain
Forward fold
Straight back, 1/2 rise
Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Left foot forward lunge

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths
Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Right foot lunge into Warrior I
3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths

Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Table
Child, 4 static breaths
3 Cat/Cow
Down Dog
Plank

Lower down to the floor, chest down
3 Cobra, 4 static breaths

Turn to right side, then onto back
3 Boat pose, 4 static breaths
3 upward plant, 4 static breaths
3 Bridge series
hug knees
Legs extended straight up
hug knees
bridge

Repose, relaxation pose, 12 or more breaths

Come back to our seats

Noetic prayer – [Centering prayer] 20 minutes, [more on centering prayer here]

Bell rings

Open eyes: Shared silence 1 minute

Thanksgiving

Psalm 51 1:15
Create in me a clean heart
A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him,
after David had lain with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

Depart and Retire to the table – 30 minutes

Diet Challenge: Week 2 – expand the plant-based diet
Try to expand your plant-based to at least two or three days this week. Meal suggestions below.

Chia Brown Rice Coconut Bowl RECIPE
Kale Salad RECIPE 
Spring Roll Noodle Bowl RECIPE
Roasted Chickpeas RECIPE

Here is a link to the Mayo Clinic and a podcast below about plant-based diets and a healthy heart.


Session Links

Tuesday, Sept 28, 6:30 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380

Wednesday, Sept 29, 6:30 pm EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523

Friday, Oct 1, 10 am EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86781690382?pwd=d2cxQmRHQTZjOXFoNWZETWhWczRVdz09

PraXis Challenge, Week 1: Creation

You are a new creation in Christ. Now, drop and give me 20!

Week 1 [Zoom links to this week’s session are at the bottom of the post]

Welcome to the start of our 8-week, wellness challenge.

Theme: (New) Creation

You are a new creation in Christ [2 Corin. 5:17]. For it is God’s image that you were made, and it is God’s likeness that we aspire (John of Damascus). It is impossible to be perfect, but it is to the Christ-like that we reach. For those who were baptized into Christ, put on Christ [Gal. 3:27]. 

As we begin this challenge, how do you, today, this week, and in this season of your life see yourself as a new creation. What parts of you do you wish to make new through the grace of God and participation in Christ? 

Breathe deep the good of the Earth and this gift of life — the Spirit in your lungs. Look around you at what is good and God-like in this creation. Give thanks to the Lord, and let us begin.

Need More Info:
Video orientation on the Details of the Challenge
Video introduction to the Challenge

The Session

Intro, reflect on the theme, offer a prayer or intention. – 5 minutes

Anyone who wishes to read may raise their hand.

Psalm 33:6-22

6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
    he put the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Stand, come to you mat or prayer rug

Lectio Divina- read four times.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Somatic Prayer (Sanctified Yoga)- 20 minutes 

Flow
3 Breathes into the heart, palms together at chest
4 Sun Salutations
Mountain Pose, Hands to Heart- 3 breaths
3 Chair pose – 4 static breaths

Forward fold
Raise up to flat back
Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Left foot lunge into Warrior I

3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths
Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Right foot lunge into Warrior I
3 Warrior I, 4 static breaths

Plank
Up Dog
Down Dog
Step forward into Mountain, 4 static breaths, hands at heart

Step back into Down Dog
Plank
3 Locust
3 Cobra, 4 static breaths

Turn over, turn to right side, sit up
3 Seated Twist, 4 static breaths
Sit back, extend onto the matt

3 Boat pose
3 Bridge, 4 static, breaths
Repose or relaxation pose, 12 or more breaths

Come to seated position

Noetic Prayer (Centering prayer, mindfulness, etc) – 20 Minutes

Bell rings– you have one more minute to center yourself

Eyes open. A few moments of silence together. If you are called by the Spirit you may.

Thanksgiving

Psalm 145:10-21

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your faithful shall bless you.
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
    and tell of your power,
12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
    and gracious in all his deeds.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling,
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand,
    satisfying the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is just in all his ways,
    and kind in all his doings.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
    he also hears their cry, and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

Depart and Retire to the table – 30 minutes

Diet Challenge Week 1–  go one day or more this week with only plant-based meals. This means, no meat (fish is ok if you must), no dairy (eggs if you must), low carbs, sugar, no soy products or heavily processed foods.

Here are some ideas or come up with your own.

Some suggestions for your first plan-based day

Links to the sessions

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3130965380
Meeting ID: 313 096 5380

Wednesday, 6:30 pm, ESTJoin Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81453475523
Meeting ID: 814 5347 5523

Thursday 10 am, EST
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84163137582
Meeting ID: 841 6313 7582