Initially the Western yoga discourse in its first 150 years or so was a part of the Orientalist project, which re-vitalised and re-constructed a mainly meditative-style yoga discourse and framed it by Christian religio-philosophies. It was a Western cultural elite preoccupied by romanticism, esotericism and spirituality. After WW2 – with the advent of the welfare state, the middle classes and women’s increasingly independence – a rather different yoga discourse was re-developed. This was the gymnastically-oriented postural yoga discourse. As in India, yoga in the West also entered mainstream culture – but for very different reasons from those in colonial India.
Like meditation, we often associate prayer with stillness and quiet reflection in a place removed from the distractions of everyday life. Headstand Pose Yoga, Supported Headstand In essence, prayer is a communing with the divine just as yoga can be a yoking with the divine. When we pray, we are perhaps searching for inspiration, guidance, or comfort.
We may even be asking for assistance of some kind. A famous Christian prayer many of which were adapted from more ancient petitions or pagan gods, St. Patrick’s Breastplate, opens with: I arise today, Through the strength of heaven: Light of Sun, Radiance of Moon, Splendor of Fire, Speed of Lightning, Swiftness of Wind, Depth of Sea, Stability of Earth, Firmness of Rock. The Jesus Prayer, a supplication of the Eastern Orthodox Church which also places a strong emphasis on meditative prayer, is used similarly to a mantra.Headstand Pose Yoga, Supported Headstand The formula Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner, was used to effect changes in the consciousness.