The Enlightening Mat: How Do You Pray?


Yoga is one of my forms of prayer. When I enter the Bikram yoga studio, I am consciously dedicating my body, mind, and soul to 90 minutes of prayer through breath and movement. It's a time that I experience the natural grace inherent in my body and give thanks for what I've been given. More importantly, when in this state of grace, I am also communing and creating unity with a group of people who may be praying in a similar manner, and thus amplifying my body's song of praise.

When talking to a friend the other day, she opened me up to seeing the different ways that people pray. I have many forms of prayer. I pray with my feet when I dance, my voice when I sing, my words when I write personal mantras, food when I cook, my hands when I make art, and service to others when I work. My list could go on because what makes a prayer of praise is the conscious intention to create sacredness (or you may call it grace, beauty, peace, or harmony) in every thought and action. These prayers also include moments when you react out of anger or fear in ways that may be considered emotionally or physically violent, because more then likely at the root of your reaction is a desire for love, wholeness, acceptance, and peace. Everything you do goes in to creating the beauty of your lifelong prayer.

So I started looking at people differently, and internally asking myself, "I wonder how that person prays?" By continually asking this question in my head throughout the day, I keep bringing my belief that each of us is a living prayer in praise of the universe into the light of consciousness; and thus creating a sacred moment every time I connect.

How would your daily life change if you saw that in every action you are an ongoing prayer of praise? What if even in your anger, pain, and suffering you are adding words to the most beautiful prayer of gratitude? What if every word, movement, and choice of doctors, teachers, office workers, lawyers, trash collectors, children, addicts, prisoners, actors, writers, cooks, and animals are all part of a collective ongoing prayer?

How do you pray? And how can you bring more intention to your prayer?

The Enlightening Mat is a blog series exploring moments of awareness that come to Beth Hemmila while practicing Bikram Yoga.

To shop for yoga charms that celebrate the different poses click here to view this blog post Sterling Silver Charms for Bikram Yoga Postures.  


  1. I don't pray anymore in the "traditional" (catholic) sense in which i was raised....and there are times when I feel that my life is lacking spiritually. I do yoga, and am studying buddhism...and have even started meditating - though I find it difficult, all that stillness! But I have not made the connection yet, or found the bridge that I was hoping for, between the little girl who prayed to Jesus, and the woman I am today - who has a hard time believing in any more than what I see before me. So, I get my "spirituality", if you want to call it that, from nature, from my relationships with animals, from my mindset when drawing or painting...maybe it is not so much something I will figure out someday as it is the process of working towards it.

    1. Deanne this journey is so beautiful! I love that you see your process so clearly and have faith that your spirituality is growing in its own unique way :) Jesus, Buddha, animals, nature, I sense its all a part of your divine essence...and such a beautiful prayer.


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