SOF: Yoga

September 7th

This week’s Speaking of Faith focuses on the practice of yoga and connecting spiritually during practice. I had heard this episode before and enjoyed listening to it again now that I am regularly taking yoga. Seane Corne described getting out of a life of drugs and alcohol in part by regularly working at this craft. She also discussed how her spirituality and yoga are like peas and carrots: you can push and prod all you want, but they develop with time and one day you’ll say, “Huh. Lookie there.”

The conversation group this week was smaller thanks to the holiday weekend, but lively. We talked about how we find ourselves close to God when enjoying different hobbies. I find myself in prayer when I’m on long runs or hikes. While I love Bikram, the teachers talk through the entire class. I need silence — to hear my heartbeat in my ears — to connect with God. (Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the hot class, I’m thanking God for surviving, but that’s it.)

This weekend I hiked a couple times, trying to enjoy the last bit of this insane heat. I know soon enough the heat will disappear and the parking lots will be waiting rooms. Right now, I’m one of only a few crazies willing to battle the weather to be out on the trails. On Sunday, I dragged my friend Alma with me.


Again, there wasn’t much silence, but there was a lot of heart-pounding, huffing and puffing and trying to manage not falling down while making our way up and down the desert hills. It was a couple hours of great friend therapy. We hadn’t talked in a very long time and by the end, I think even our ears were tired.

If you pray, do you find yourself more comfortable to do so during an activity? Do you need silence?


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13 Responses

  1. Good question. I would say, for me, the answer is that it depends. Sometimes I need the activity to distract my thoughts enough that I can pray. Sometimes I need the silence so that I can uncover the prayers of my heart. Sometimes prayer just pops out regardless – that’s the best kind. πŸ™‚

  2. Sometimes, praying while out on a walk works well; it keeps me focused on something other than how worn out I feel, and helps keep me awake. πŸ™‚ Most of the time, though, I need total silence to really get down and pray. Otherwise, my thoughts get too scattered and I find myself going, “Wait-where was I?” a lot.

  3. [Not that I fall asleep when I walk, but while praying? Oh, I’m guilty of that.]

  4. I can pray almost anywhere at anytime. However to have my heart and soul open to hear what God has to say to me, I need peace and silence. I find that in meditation and T’ai Chi Chih. That’s when I feel completely connected to God and my soul. My heart is open to God totally and answers can be heard. My neighbor is a long time fan of yoga and I was able to try the class she goes to one day for free. I did like it very much, but at the time I was looking for an aerobic work out class, so I opted for that instead. She has taken a break from her class and doing yoga at home on her own. I think I will join her. I do like the spiritual connection yoga brings as well as better movement.

  5. I need silence, but sometimes I find the silence on a walk, or mowing the lawn, or weeding the garden. Sometimes I find the silence knitting or sewing. Sometimes I need to sit doing nothing except for prayer. I am Catholic and find that attending monthly adoration for an hour of silent prayer is deeply meaningful. Sometimes I’m unable to find the quiet time I want and I have to pray amidst the noise and busy times of life…I don’t always like this, but the point of prayer is not to make me feel good, but to make me more open to God and how God wants me to live my life.

  6. I forgot to tell you – I shared your message about the SOF talk on virtue with a friend of mine and we had a very beautiful discussion about virtue and being virtuous women. Thank you for the inspiration:)

  7. I’ve been hiking a lot, too, and trying to ignore Tucson’s heat. I’m alternatinng hiking with walking and using the latter to explore offerings in and around where I live. Tomorrow I’m re-visiting the Pima Air & Space Museum, a huge expanse of ground I can trudge happily about. I find that having something to do makes the walks/hiking extra special for me. As for praying, I need silence. It’s hard to tune out extraneous noises to focus on meaningful prayer so absolute quiet works best for me.

  8. That’s why I like yoga….the silence. The silence I need to better listen to myself, my body, my breath and my free mind wandering far away while practicing. And when you find out your mind is wide and empty….oh the feeling is just so amazing!
    My lessons will start again in october, and I can’t wait.

  9. I prefer silence. I’m more able to focus and pray meaningfully. There are times, though, where I just tune out the noise for a few moments and simply say “thank you.” I have so much to be thankful for.

  10. When I pray I prefer silence because I get easily distracted and then my mind wanders. However if I’m somewhere where I feel I need to pray and ask for something or even to say thank you for something and I’m not where it’s quiet, I’ll still pray to myself.

  11. If I were to wait for a quiet moment I don’t think I’d ever pray. By the time it’s quiet, I want to go to bed. The majority of my days are spent with my 5 kids.

    People will pop into my head to pray for when I’m doing the mundane daily duties of folding laundry, washing dishes, cleaning, walking to the mailbox, or jogging in the morning. I cry out all day to God. I’m a very needy girl and I have lots of needy friends and acquaintances. πŸ™‚

  12. I love quiet, meditative places when I offer up prayer, but honestly my mind seems to wander when it’s too quiet. Most of the time my prayer consists of talking to God, and I do this a lot, anytime and anyplace, and often in the midst of chaos!

  13. Finally got around to finishing listening to the podcast today – so I’m late to the party. I am so grateful that I heard this. I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly 5 years now, on and off … the last few years regularly. And I have to say that my experience has been so similar to Seane Corn’s. I too have struggled with anxiety and mild obsessiveness — enough so that I totally understand her experience of her hands and hips needing to be exactly level in poses. My mat always has to be PERFECTLY perpendicular to the walls of the studio or I feel “off” πŸ˜‰ Anyhow … my growth in yoga has been very similar to hers. It took me a few months to start to “get” how yoga works on your body, mind and spirit, and I too have those moments now where weeks of physical practice on the mat suddenly translates into mental, emotional and spiritual “aha” moments. Yoga has become for me a way of life. It’s no longer on the mat only but infuses work, family and all the things I love. I also found it refreshing to hear Seane talk God and prayer and Jesus — weekend yoga has become my church and yoga (and my NIA dance class) are body prayer, and prayer is yoga. And yeah, I’m one of those who needs to still the quiet for prayer to happen.