"For just as strolling, walking, and running are bodily exercises, so spiritual exercises are methods of preparing the soul," wrote St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises. In her homage to this classic, Nancy Roth offers a rationale and overview of contemporary prayer and practices that prepare the soul in the here and now through a variety of exercises that honor the link between "body" and "spirit" and lead the body to express itself in prayer.
To help us in our quest to integrate physical well-being with spiritual practice, Roth introduces and leads us through many different disciplines, including Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, dance, strength training, and aerobic exercise. After summarizing their origins, she describes each discipline clearly, with three or four examples, and then discusses how this particular form of exercise provides a metaphor for the spiritual journey. Other sections discuss breathing and posture, alignment, progressive relaxation, and message, while the final chapter helps us think through the different offerings presented here and decide which we might incorporate into our own lives of prayer.