I have recently made my way back toward yoga. I love to practice yoga. I love the quiet strength required to hold a pose and the silence that settles into my soul as I breathe deeply. It has been almost 3 years since I regularly practiced and I can feel that absence every time I get back on the mat. But, every sore muscle speaks to time that my soul has been with God and is therefore, a beautiful pain.
Yoga is just one practice of breath for me. While the class I currently attend is not “spiritual” in any way, I carry in with me a breath prayer. Each inhale is “peace” and every exhale is “be still”. As my mind settles into the rhythm, my heart settles in to receive life-giving love from God. A good friend reminded me this week that she uses “Yahweh” as her breath prayer when she practices. I am planning on trying it next week in class.
I fall asleep every night with breath prayer. As I inhale I say, “It is the time” and with each exhale I say, “God has made for sleep.” Even now, as I type those words, my body responds with softening muscles and a yawn. It softly reminds me that I am made to release control and that God has set a rhythm of rest of rest for me to follow.
Driving in Dallas has challenged me to use breath prayer. I enjoy having the car quiet, if I am the only one in it, so the radio is rarely on. The opportunity to let my mind wander and settle where it may is peaceful to me. However, there are a lot of people who do not know how to drive in Dallas and they tend to interrupt my peace. When that happens, I call my mind back to God with the simple prayer, “God is here,” breathed in deeply and slowly.
When I am leading a group into a time of prayer, I always begin with an invitation to become aware of breathing. So even now, as you read, slow and deepen your breath. Feel the oxygen fill up your body and move life into your very cells. Imagine breathing in the presence of God in your actual lungs. Then, exhale all that pulls your hearts from God; push it away from you. Settle in with this breath prayer and allow it fill your body. Rest here for a time.
Prayer is as close as your very breath.