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A Practice for Peace

When I was around 10 years old I received First Holy Communion. (This is when Catholics learn the meaning of the Eucharist and how to take it during mass.) We had to learn some prayers and traditions to go with the sacrament. It was at this time that I received a little white book with a plastic cover and a rosary. I don't remember what the book was called, but I know it had the instructions for the rosary prayer beads.


And, like a devout little Christian, I remember kneeling at my bedroom bay window and learning the prayers of the rosary. I was amazed at how simple it was. It was a couple prayers I knew, plus Hail Marys, which I did not. But once you've recited it 50 times, you've got it. There was something about this simple repetition that I loved.


From that time through my mid-twenties, there was a rosary under my pillow and the prayers were the last thoughts going through my head every night as I fell asleep. It was a beautifully peaceful way to fall asleep. The silent repetition of familiar prayers gave my busy mind something to do so my awareness could relax into an inner stillness and fall asleep.


Now, I don't know, or care, if that is "correct" or if the powers that be appreciate the rosary as a sleep aid. I think any tool that helps calm the mind so the stillness can emerge is a good one. And we all need more sleep, so what's the harm?


Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity all have their versions of prayer beads used for meditation and contemplation, as well as mantras or prayers meant to help practitioners deepen their spiritual practice and cultivate inner peace and awareness. So there must be something to this!


If you've never had a prayer bead and mantra practice, I invite you to get curious. What are some of the prayers that have spoken to you over your lifetime? The Serenity Prayer, The Welcoming Prayer, The Lord's Prayer, The Gayatri Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, and Om Mani Padme Hum all have deep meaning, and humans all over the world chant them and find their way to inner peace. Find one that means something to you and start a daily practice of repetition. They become like a fast track to inner peace when you practice "consistently, over time, and without interruption," as BKS Iyengar says.


Recently I found myself seeking out that rosary practice once again, and now that I have more life experience under my belt, I am even more enamored. More to come on that! But for now, just know that this is the inspiration behind the


Mantras and Malas workshop we're doing at the Blossom & Bliss Women's Yoga Retreat this April.


My dear friend and longtime student, Rebecca Lundy, is offering up her talents for making prayer bracelets and beautiful malas, and I'm facilitating finding the right mantra and blessing our bracelets so they are filled with the Prana, the Life Force, the Energy, of the gathering and your intention.


I hope you join us, and I hope you get started, or return to, a beautiful mantra and prayer bead practice. They are such graceful and accessible tools for deepening peace, meditation, and inner connection.


Much love

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