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I first heard the term ‘body prayer’ when Shirley Dockstader offered one at my 13th moon celebration. Shirley is an amazing teacher.  find her, she’s a champ.

13th moon celebration marks a sacred cycle of transition in a woman’s life, 13 months after her last menstrual bleed.  Now physiologically in menopause.  Pausing from men as a primary focus.  

A body prayer is sacred movement, movement in which the soul expresses ITSELf.
Or a body prayer can be kneeling in supplication to a higher power for help
A  BODY PRAYER can be taking time to BE, walk and reflect in nature.
Body prayers come from inside us reaching out to the greater community, expressing love.

Codified body prayers are tai chi and qigong, yoga and toning, walking the labyrinth.
Each brings our cells into alignment capable of transforming from the inside out.

Something else I learned from Shirley, the Qi Walk.

It was mile 18 walking my first (and last?) marathon in Alaska.  Something doesn’t feel right in the back of my pants – yep, will not describe here.  Many stops at outhouses on the way slowed my progress to the finish line.  Two things kept me going in spite of my obvious physical discomfort

1. Remembering the kids and people I was walking for -the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.  I remembered Alvaro and Brian, the many others whose cells and hearts I knew.  They had to have a lot more uncomfortable days than I was having.

2.   Shirley’s Qi walk. I remembered her teaching about drawing energy through your feet. With each step opening the portals for energy to come through from the Earth.  When we connect with the Earth’s qi, it refuels us.  So I engaged my Feet with the Earth with each step. I rolled my foot on the ground tapping into the universal.  I began to feel laughter bubble up inside, I laughed, I sang and being applauded in as I approached the finish line besting my own time.

Did I imagine more energy or a sacred force carrying me? I simply stayed in that present moment, one step at a time, one breath and juggle at a time.

I sure had a lot of help to best my self in spite of my body.


Scientist-photographer author and teacher bringing together science, art and sometimes the sacred. PhD biochemist, post-doc in immunology and years of teaching mindbody health and sensory awareness. Looking within with a microscope my vision of the world has changed, yours might, too.