Yoga as Prayer

Today as I was taking my place on my yoga mat at the gym, I asked myself the question, “Why do you do yoga?” The question struck me, and I’ll admit at first I didn’t have an answer. I decided to take this question into my practice today. As I was moving around the mat, breathing, taking in the sounds of the gym, I had a realization was over my heart. Yoga is how I pray. For me, yoga is devotion. When I am on my mat, I am stepping onto sacred ground. I feel my soul come alive. My breath joins my body more deeply, and for a moment all that exists is the flow.

Stepping onto the mat is stepping into trust. We spend much of our day trying to get away from the body, we rush into our expectations, or are bound to the anchors of our past. We hold judgement against ourselves. We eat foods that lack nourishment. We engage in distractions (television, social media, etc). We numb ourselves. When we take a step onto the yoga mat, we are saying to the soul, to God, to the universe I am here, and I am ready. The very act of showing up sets the intention, and brings us into presence.

As I move through the asana, I pause and deepen my breath. Too often in classes we try to rush through the sequences. Each pose is a meditation, the breath the mantra, and when we move slowly we are honoring the sacredness of that union. Sequences do not need to be complex, you don’t need to be fancy with how you breath, just let the body move. Yoga is an act of surrender. I try not to plan too far ahead as to what I want to do on my mat. I ask my body what it feels like doing today. I let each asana guide me to the next. I invite in my emotions, the ambient sounds and colors of whatever space I am in. Yoga is not about escaping, its arriving into to presence.

Yoga is a prayer that is said by the body, on the altar of our soul. Each movement is an intention in action. Each breath is a sacred mantra that whispers through us, taking us deeper into each heartbeat.

Take a moment to honor your path by dropping into the breath. Hold your awareness at the rise and fall of the chest, take your hand and place it over your beating heart. Feel life moving through you. Let this be enough.

Namaste

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