Movement as Prayer
Qoya honors yoga as a time-tested philosophy and practice of human development and explores places that can be integrated with a more feminine approach.
The common term yoga is often defined in the West as: a set of postures (asanas) and breathing exercises (pranayama) that increase strength, flexibility, and balance and integrate mind, body, and spirit.
Sri Aurobindo, a visionary, avatar, author, and yogic leader teaches the definition of yoga as “applying knowledge, action, and love in service towards the evolution of consciousness.” In Qoya, we love Sri Aurobindo’s definition, as Qoya’s translation in Quechuan is “a female manifestation of higher consciousness.”
Deepak Chopra describes yoga as a state of being in which the elements and forces that com- promise your biological organism are in harmonious interaction with the elements of the cosmos. In yoga – in union with your spirit – your desires and the desires of nature are one.
In Qoya, instead of holding postures in stillness, we explore moving our bodies subtly with our breath. Can we allow ourselves to dance and express ourselves within the structure of sun salutations?
When I was in India, a woman came up to me at a temple and asked if I was a yoga teacher. I said yes, and the woman told me she had an important message. She said, “You have to teach them that yoga is prayer, not just movement. Promise you will teach them.”
I kept my promise and in every Qoya class, invite my students to think of their yoga as prayer. You don’t have to have a running inner dialogue of “prayer” – just a shift of perception to feel your own body’s movements as sacred, whole, and holy. Movement can be a form of communication between you and that which is greater than you.
Imagine that dancing your yoga as prayer moves through you like a wave in the ocean, so that you can feel the rhythmic flow of the breath and the body. Remember that our bodies are 70% water and the earth is 70% water, so we want to tap back into that feminine experience of rigidity and truly feel our flow – in our breath and in our body. The rhythmic repetition of sun salutations and dancing warrior sequences are one of the best ways to create that. Please share the metaphor of feeling like a wave in the ocean and have fun!
Today, I invite you to either do the yoga sequence in the video or turn on a song and do some yoga postures that you love, finding the freedom within that structure to shift your awareness from using your movement as a form of communication from the divine.
If you don't know yoga, you can also simply move in any way you like, creating YOUR OWN yoga postures and creating shapes with your body that feel like what you wish to say.
Whichever you choose, the most important part is this: imagine that the movement itself is your form of prayer. Do not feel the need to pray with your mind as you move - let the movement itself be enough. Simply feel the prayer resonate in your body.
How does moving as a form of prayer change the way it feels in your body?
Did you find it easy or difficult to quiet the mind and focus fully on the feeling of the body?
Are there other places in your life where, rather than going through the motions, you can add awareness and intention to change your experience of an otherwise familiar movement?