One of the many things I love about Brook's class is her gentle insistence on stillness. Other teachers emphasize this, too, but Brook really embodies it. I appreciate that, because stillness is very important to me. As I use the mental space for meditation and prayer, it's a chance for me to rest and refuel.
I pray a lot in general. I pray for my kids and my husband. I pray for my students. I pray over my writing. I ask for help to be kinder and more forgiving and less stubborn and selfish. Prayer is a way of life for me.
I see yoga as a form of living prayer: a struggle, a wrestle, a submission of will. I pray in yoga class--before, during, and after. I try to get to the studio a few minutes early so that I can stretch a bit and meditate. I ask to get through the next 90 minutes with grace and strength and an open mind. I think about the day to come afterward and ask for help with various challenges.
During class, my prayers are simple, borne upward on the breaths I work to keep calm and even. Please let me get through this posture without dying. Please help me to learn from my limitations. Please help me to let go of frustration and fear. Please help me to listen, both to the teacher and to my body.
Afterward, it's mostly about gratitude. I'm grateful that I can afford the time and money for yoga class. I live a life of incredible privilege, and it does me good to go through my blessings one by one and recognize how huge, amazing, and undeserved they are.
And sometimes after class, answers to my questions come: softly in the stillness, heard only because I've turned my attention inward. Namaste.