Exercising the Breath-Prayer

The other night in COREpilates, we discussed the importance of the breath to our physical health.  In addition to using the breath to protect and support us through engaging the core, we can train our breath to be slower, longer, deeper, quieter (ideal breathing pattern for effective and efficient breathing) during our focused breathing time which, in turn, will impact our ability to have these positive qualities in our involuntary breathing.  Also, we explored the idea of the breath prayer as a means to train our minds to meditate constantly on Scripture by reciting short prayers during the inhale and exhale processes of our Pilates exercises.  I have posted other information about breath prayers (See “Take a Deep Breath” post), but wanted to share the actual routine we used to incorporate prayer into our practice:

Pilates Movement                                                                                       Inhale………..Exhale (of the Breath Prayer)

Toe Raises/ Heel Lifts                                                                                                I stand………….beneath the Cross

Chair Pose                                                                                                                      Abide in me……………I abide in You

Prayer Pose to Table Top (or “Mountain Top” to Plank)                             Your power…………..Moves in me

Swan                                                                                                                                 God of Beauty………….beloved One

Heel Beats                                                                                                                       Be-ing……………Be-ing

Roll Downs                                                                                                                     Strengthen me……….Encourage me

Hundred (hold pose)                                                                                                 I receive……………..I give

Boat Pose (Sit bone balance/legs in table top)                                               Held in Your Mercy….Held in Your Love 

Chest Lift                                                                                                                         I bow down…………You life me up (*new prayer)

Chest Lift w/ Rotation                                                                                              Father God………….I turn to you                                                                 

More on how to create your own Breath Prayers:

BREATH PRAYERS are a modern adaptation of the ancient prayer of the heart. We create them to express our deepest needs. They help us keep God in the foreground amidst our daily living and clarify our relationship with the holy.   Most breath prayers are six to eight syllables and fit easily into one inhale and exhale. Some examples are “Help me rest; give me peace,” “Make clear my way, O Holy One,” “Out of darkness, into light,” or “Fill me, Spirit, with your love.”

– Jane E. Vennard
The Breath Prayer  ( excerpt taken from the UPPER ROOM daily devotional)


One thought on “Exercising the Breath-Prayer

  1. One of the blog members was having difficulty posting this comment, so she sent it to my email with permission to share it:
    Last week I needed to undergo a rather uncomfortable medical procedure. Being a normally healthy person, I’m not used to much more than opening my mouth and saying “Aahhh.” So, when I found myself sitting on a cold steel table dressed in a thin paper gown at 8am on a Wednesday morning, I started to panic. Then I remembered the breath prayers you taught us in Pilates class the week before. I was too nervous to remember the words we spoke then, so I just breathed “Oh Lord … Give me Your strength”. Five minutes later when the nurse came in, she took my pulse (62 bpm) and my blood pressure (82 over 60) and was shocked at how calm I was! The procedure was not fun, but I just kept my focus on the breath prayer and made it through. The Dr. said he was amazed at how well I did – especially considering how nervous I appeared when I first walked in.

    Next time I’ll have to try it when I’m under stress at work, or when out for a brisk walk. Thank you for this new way to connect with God. Sometimes the simplest of actions are the most effective.

    -Heather Jacksonville, Florida

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