Whether you are new to yoga, a longtime practitioner or a yoga instructor, you’ll want to add Mindfulness Yoga by Frank Jude Boccio to your yoga library.
In 1995 Frank Jude graduated from a 500-hour yoga teacher training and was ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh. From 2001-2003 he participated in an 800-hour Traditional Yoga Training under the direction of Georg Feuerstein. In 2007 he was ordained as a Poep Sa, which means Dharma Teacher by the Korean Zen Master, Samu Sunim. He has taught all over the world and has been teaching in Tucson for the past ten years.
What is Mindfulness Yoga about?
Mindfulness Yoga presents the practice of asana as the vehicle for mindfulness practice as taught in the early Buddhist tradition. There are two major discourses of the Buddha, the Satipatthana-Sutta (Foundations of Mindfulness) and the Anapanasati-Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing).
Therefore, my book and the style of yoga I teach use techniques that parallel the four foundations of mindfulness.
Most noteworthy in Mindfulness Yoga is the emphasis on the practice and cultivation of mindfulness. In contrast, it isn’t merely practicing mindfully. First, I present some history and philosophy, situating the Buddha within the larger yoga tradition that predates Hinduism and Buddhism. Additionally, I compare the Eightfold Path from Buddhism with the Eight-Limbs taught by Patanjali in the Yoga-Sutra.
Next, I provide an overview and detailed description of mindfulness practice with an introduction to the two suttas Mindfulness Yoga is based upon. And finally, I share four practices, one for each of the four foundations of mindfulness.
This book should be read by every aspiring yoga practitioner.
Who should read it?
Any student or teacher looking to integrate contemplative mindfulness practice with yoga asana might find it of interest and benefit. Whether one is a yoga teacher or a practitioner, Mindfulness Yoga offers a fully comprehensive and detailed, but accessible, mindfulness practice. Deepen whatever approach you take to asana, whether Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga or any other style or form of practice.
Mindfulness requires memory of the past to fully understand the causes and conditions that led to the present moment. We are not here to make “asanas” of ourselves but to use asana to cultivate greater self-awareness and self-understanding.
Mindfulness Yoga is elegant, lucid, astonishingly comprehensive, and thoroughly accessible. The practice is – refreshingly – for real human beings! There is something here for everyone, from beginning students to more advanced practitioners alike.
What was your reason for writing it?
Honestly? I had the rare privilege and honor of being asked to write it by Wisdom Publications. One of the editors found out about a yoga retreat I was offering based upon the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. They thought the topic would make a good book so they reached out and invited me to write it. It was a matter of fortuitous circumstances. Jon Kabat-Zinn, when reviewing my book said, “It’s about time somebody wrote this!”
Once I began the process of writing, I wanted to share a practice that has had a profound impact on me and many students over the years. I had learned satipatthana from Thich Nhat Hanh when I was a student of his. I simply wished to share what I had learned from him.
What is one thing you hope people take away from reading your book?
I’d hope that anyone reading my book would come away realizing that mindfulness is accessible. The Buddha said mindfulness is an innate human faculty that is strengthened through intentional and diligent practice. My first yoga teacher, Swami Satchidananda, over 40 years ago, told a group of us that yoga is relationship. Certainly, mindfulness is at the base of all relationship.
My mother had Alzheimer’s. She was always in the moment. However, a real relationship with her wasn’t possible because she couldn’t remember anything from one moment to the next. Mindfulness begins with how we relate to our body, our emotions, our thoughts and perceptions. It then expands out to our relationships with others, from family and friends to the greater ecological network of life. It’s a never-ending practice that continues to unfold as we engage with it.
The essence of yoga is the discipline and state of yoking body, breath and mind with integrity, intimacy and passion. The Buddha himself said we needed to practice with a heart filled with ardent curiosity and self-acceptance.
Do you have plans for another book?
My next book is based on the three principles of alignment, relaxation and resilience. I am comparing Patanjali’s description of asana with Japanese Zen Master Dogen Zenji’s description of zazen (sitting meditation). The Seven Factors of Awakening as taught by the Buddha inspired the practice section. I will include seven practices integrating asana, pranayama and meditation.
Eventually, I hope to work on a book that will present my attempts to create an approach to traditional Zen Buddhist practice based fully on the non-dual, naturalistic, and scientific understanding of critical inquiry sometimes referred to as scientific skepticism. I call it Zen Naturalism. This approach confounds the typical binary by being described as a secular religion.
Mindfulness Yoga by Frank Jude Boccio is available online at amazon.com
Practice with Frank Jude Boccio at Tucson Yoga Sundays at 9am and Fridays at 12pm. He leads workshops, retreats and trainings throughout the US and Canada. Contact him through his website to schedule.
More info at mindfulnessyoga.net