I stumbled across Centering Prayer sometime in 2017. After completing my 200 hour yoga teacher training I felt really inspired and grounded by my meditation practice. Yoga was my doorway into a contemplative life; when I learned more about the 8 limbs of yoga, I saw that the postures (what we mostly think of as yoga, but is called Asana within the tradition) were just one aspect of what yoga is.
I learned about Pratyahara–withdrawing sense from the outside world and turning the mind inward–and Dharana–maintaining a single focus in the mind's eye. These practices can lead to Dhyana, a sense of oneness with God, a blurring of your sense of self when you leave the consciousness that you typically experience. It sounds wild if you haven't experienced it, but maybe you have had this experience at the end of a yoga class when you drift away to somewhere else during the final resting pose and you don't know where "you" went, because your body was laying on the mat.
Ok so back to the topic at hand: Centering Prayer. I discovered Centering Prayer when I was curious about what contemplative practice looks like within Christianity. I discovered there's an entire stream of contemplative Christianity! For me this didn't mean that I stopped practicing yoga as a contemplative practice. It did mean that I felt a place of belonging and resonance within my own spiritual tradition, and that felt exciting and comforting for me. Essentially Centering Prayer is Christianity's version of silent meditation. It's suggested to practice for 20 minutes at a time, so that is the practice I'm presenting today. In the meditation I share the 4 guidelines for Centering Prayer, read a quote from mystic Mirabai Starr, and then I leave space for 20 minutes of silence.