Body Prayer 🙏🏻

Our intention for yoga classes this week is to use movement and breath to express deep devotion, aligning us to the deepest parts of ourselves, and opening us to connect with the Divine and each other. Ishvara Pranidhana is the fifth and final Niyama (or Observance) in Patanjali’s System of Yoga. Ishvara can be defined as Lord/God/Spirit/the Divine. Pranidhana means surrender–a willful and active surrender to God–the reality and beauty of your life exactly AS IT IS in each breath, embracing both the sunshine and the rain with equilibrium. This relationship is one of active presence and total surrender. To surrender the fruits of our actions to God requires that we give up our illusion that we know best, and instead accept and trust that the way life unfolds may be part of a pattern too complex and beautiful to understand. Only by releasing our fears and our hopes for the future can we really be in union with the present moment. Let all movements of body, mind, and spirit be rooted in the unconditional love of an open heart full of kindness and compassion while actively surrendering to the Divine. Whatever the question, Love is the answer.

If we were more in touch with the present moment, almost everything would become more vivid and alive. Meditation has to do with being fully here, now. Yoga provides the opportunity to reestablish contact not only with our body but with our feeling and mood states. After one has put one’s body in various positions, then one simply experiences the feelings and sensations that emerge as one relaxes into the posture. Thus, yoga serves as a doorway into awareness. In meditation, one passes through that doorway and becomes aware of the Mystery at the root of one’s being. ~ Thomas Ryan, Prayer of Heart and Body

In Aramaic, the definition of the word prayer is opening ourselves so that the Divine can fill our lives, both inside and out. Using our bodies as a tool for that opening has been practiced in different forms, by different cultures, for thousands of years… From the word meaning “to unite,” “yoke,” or “join together,” yoga uses a combination of meditation, breath control, and physical postures to reconnect with God. The postures, called asanas, embody this intention. ~ Maggie Oman Shannon, The Way We Pray: Prayer Practices from Around the World

Useful definitions:
Yoga = union, wholeness of body, mind, and spirit
Bhakti Yoga = yoga of devotion; root word bhaj = to adore or worship God
Karma Yoga = yoga of selfless action; a form of prayer
Karma Yoga is closely linked to Bhakti Yoga, for without love and devotion, it would be impossible to serve others selflessly.
Guru = the one who dispels the darkness and takes towards light;
root words gu = darkness; ru = light
Selah = Hebrew for pause and reflect, calmly think of that

“Where would You have me go? What would You have me do? What would You have me say, and to whom?” — Daily prayer, A Course in Miracles

Experience Body Prayer — 7 Rounds of Surya Namaskara A (or mix it up with Surya Namaskara B and C) with Intention — Practice with me HERE.

7 is a symbol of perfection, rest, intuition, and wisdom.

Round One — Devotion (Bhakti)

Selah, pause and reflect

Round Two — Cleansing/Forgiveness

Selah, pause and reflect

Round Three — Loved One

Selah, pause and reflect

Round Four — Stranger or Acquaintance

Selah, pause and reflect

Round Five — Challenge
(something in your life causing you difficulty or pain)

Selah, pause and reflect

Round Six — Gratitude

Selah, pause and reflect

Round Seven — Devotion (Bhakti)

Selah, pause and reflect

What do I need to remember and know in this moment?
What soul messages am I receiving?
Where would You have me go? What would You have me do?
What would You have me say, and to whom?


Closing Body Prayer

Begin with hands at heart center in Anjali Mudra
finding our inner quiet

Raise arms up high
opening ourselves to God

Bring hands to heart center in Anjali Mudra
affirming the strength and truth of Divine wisdom

Extend hands out in front
offering loving kindness and respect to others

Open arms out to sides
contributing our unique gifts and purposes in this world

Extend arms high over our heads in reverence
gazing up to God, being filled and guided

Draw hands together and down to heart center
gathering in the blessings and sealing them in our heart and soul

Returning to stillness in Anjali Mudra with eyes closed
bowing our head to our heart in gratitude

The Divine is everywhere. Look beyond the story. Look at the soul. LOVE! How has the Spirit called you to serve? All of our experiences help create who we are, and, if we choose, propel us forward. May faith propel us forward. ❤️