Do You Believe in Prayer?

Yoga and prayer…do they go together…do YOU bring them together? Yoga asana IS prayer for me. It’s the prayer of the body in motion. It’s opening my SELF to the grace of the universe.It is working to create a sustainable body/mind/spirit and therefore family/friendships/community/nation/world.

Sitting meditation – is it a prayer? Yes’m indeed. We sit to develop compassion; all practice is for compassion. Imagine if those in the West Wing sat everyday, hell, sat once a week and practiced Lovingkindness meditation.…Imagine (as John Lennon did but the world has not quite grasped the work involved yet…Imagination + Prayer/Practice =  a more loverly world!) ahhh, for today – as we enter upon the inauguration of a new era – just imagine….

This post is dedicated to another Jersey girl, a member of the original Mater Dei yoga club back in 1971: “White Cathy” – and the benevolent work she has done and continues to do! It’s a blessing and inspiration to know you.

Yoga and meditation teach us to open ourselves; to free ourselves from the confines of our “programming,” of what we have been inculcated by society. The practice informs us of a greater existence, a greater SELF that we can aspire to and it is a SELF that we all belong to in this great human family – some would say in this family of all sentient beings.

Do you believe in the power of prayer to change the world? Do you act on that belief? How does it affect your life? – or the lives of those around you?

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Laughing Yogini,

    I have been praying once in a while for years, but then I was introduced to a totally new kind of prayer two years ago and it has changed my life.

    Since then prayer is part of my daily practice and I’m trying to expand it so that every part of my life will become a prayer. I’m trying to do the same with Yoga, and hopefully one day, maybe, sometimes … it will all blend into one 🙂

    I agree with you that Yoga or meditation helps us “free ourselves from the confines of our “programming,” of what we have been inculcated by society.” For me, prayer has helped me do this work most effectively. For example, I had one major energy blockage in my lower belly since my childhood that I tried to dissolve for almost 15 years with all kinds of techniques. Only through prayer did I finally manage to lastingly heal that wound. I also had a major spiritual “blockage” from childhood (the sight or thought of Christ on the cross nearly made me climb the walls, and I HATED him…). I worked on that for 6 months and again, it has transformed my spiritual understanding and power in a way I would never have considered possible.

    But first I had to learn to be fierce in my prayer, meaning that I consciously opened up every cell of my body for grace to pour in and express from within. In a way, praying for me is a work of growing my divine core from the inside while emptying myself for the divine to pour in. Before, I had only known prayer as a passive practice.

    Sometimes, in my Yoga practice, or in talking to a friend, I notice an unhealed part inside of me, and I will do a prayer to clean, heal, and offer that part. I always offer my Yoga practice as a gift, and I offer the space and integration it brings in my bodies to fuel a process I might have started through praying or meditating. Both Yoga and prayer help me to create space in my mind and body, but the quality of space and calm is slightly different. Sometimes my prayers fuel my Yoga, and sometimes it’s the other way round.

    I don’t see Yoga and prayer as separate. I don’t see the one as more effective than the other, since they are aspects of one thing really and everyone will find their own perfect mixture for finding true understanding, oneness and compassion. I have found that Yoga and prayer offer me unique ways to express myself, to transform and bloom, and to let out all my creative energy.

    For me, it’s the perfect blend and it brings me so much joy, compassion and clarity.

    Phew, long answer to a simple question. But it’s such an interesting topic 🙂

    All the best from snowy Austria,
    Lily

    Oh, and PS: in case you wondered: I’m not part of any religious community anymore. I left because I felt that this institution was not interested in really supporting people to find and grow the divine within, especially for women.

  2. […] bookmarks tagged laughing The Laughing Yogini » Do You Believe in Prayer? saved by 4 others     spitfire1433 bookmarked on 01/14/09 | […]

  3. For some people, learing to sit still and stop thinking is itself a challenge. Yoga and meditation become a means to rediscover the timelss value and wisdom found in silence.

  4. LILY,
    Thanks for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking reply. I will come back and re-read it. You inspire me to continue on several topics…especially the practice of “offering” your yoga practice. That’s not done enough,I think. But I find it a worthwhile practice in and of itself.
    Making your entire life a prayer is THE goal, yes? Bhakti yoga!!

    And as you’ve figured out by now, I am not at all averse to long answers (or long posts, hehe), though it’s not part of the blog mentality.

    PS Are you getting out and snowshoeing much? I visited Salzburg for a few days on our way home from India back in 1994…lovely.

  5. LIARA,

    ABSOLUTELY! Folks come to the practice for a myriad of reasons, esp. for physical fitness and – or – relaxation. That’s OK…it’s the tickle. Eventually, if they have a decent teacher, they find the practice becomes central to their life as they deepen spiritually …then as their sprituality grows, so does their practice….they feed on each other.

    Your first comment though, about simply learning to sit still is right on too. I was shocked years ago when I began teaching yoga that it was savasana that folks had the most difficulty with. I’d figured it’d be you know, lack of flexibility or something physical like that, but no, as Iyengar says, savasana is the most difficult of poses…relatively easy to quiet the body…mucho harder to still the monkey mind.

    When I teach meditation in my college seminars, the students often freak because they can’t stand not multitasking and being entertained constantly. I start them out with five minutes (ten was toooo long for most of them)…and we move to longer stays sloooooowly.

    Thanks for commenting.

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