The Practice of Presence and Prayer

Swami Satyananda offers a reflection on coming back to centre for this busy season.

In the sacred dance tradition of the East, there is a simple movement which happens at the beginning and end of a prayer dance.  It is called Bhumi Pranam – an expression of gratitude to Mother Earth for letting us dance on Her.  It is an invitation to remember what is sacred, in whatever way is meaningful for us.

For me, this prayer movement has many layers of meaning.  It is about remembering and acknowledging my relationship with the Earth.  It reminds me about the importance of caring and consideration of others – and that everyday I have the opportunity to practice this.

The movements and prayer bring me into the present moment, reminding me that the practice of Yoga is about awareness – awareness of what’s happening in both my inner and outer environments.  Awareness of the consequences of my actions.  Awareness that each of us is an example for other – our friends, families, communities – and the tremendous responsibility that comes with this.

There are times when I get busy and caught up in the dance of life and forget about my intentions to bring awareness into my choices.  A simple practice like Bhumi Pranam or breath or standing still in Tadasana (the Mountain) brings me into the present moment and back to myself.  I remember my intentions, my purpose and my relationship with the power that created me in the first place.

The last position of Bhumi Pranam are the hands in Namaste—a simple prayer position which is in many traditions.  This gesture acknowledges both the divinity within oneself and within others – the Divine in me acknowledges & recognizes the Divine in you.  There is a recognition of oneness, of unity in this gesture – which is the meaning and purpose of Yoga.

You can view Swami Lalitananda doing Bhumi Pranam at the beginning of her instructional video of the Divine Mother Prayer Dance.


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