The Power of Body Prayer

I recently was working with St. Hildegard’s music for the sacred text of Kyrie, envisioning how to put this music to movement to create a body prayer. The words and the music are quite powerful in themselves, but I wanted to be able to deepen this work through bringing related movements to people in a group setting. Here are the words:

Kyrie Eleison (Creator of Life, Awaken Love Within Us)
Christe Eleison (Creator of Love, Awaken Love Within Us)
Kyrie Eleison (Creator of Life, Awaken Love Within Us)
Kyrie Eleison (Creator of Life, Awaken Love Within Us)
(translation by Norma Gentile)

​Once I created the movements, I brought this dance to my recent class on St. Hildegard at the Fox Institute.  The movements helped us feel into themes from the four paths of Creation Spirituality:  love, interdependence, letting pain be pain and creativity.

(Jeannine with the model of Rupertsberg and stained glass pieces used during her class on St. Hildegard at the Fox Institute)


Maybe you have heard the words ‘body prayer’ but are wondering what this is exactly?

Body prayer is a wonderful way to intentionally connect with the Divine through movement.  Picture spiritual practice in motion.

It can be as simple as taking a walk with presence and an intention to connect to the Divine. Or it can be more complex such as yoga which has become very popular as a spiritual practice in recent years.

If you are someone who enjoys movement or find that you best connect with the Divine Source while moving, you might want to bring body prayer into your spiritual practice on a regular basis, if you haven’t yet.

Here are a two easy ways to get started:

Take a walk in nature – Begin your walk with a sense of gratitude for Mother Earth, the trees, the plants, the air you breathe, and this day that you have.

Set an intention to be open to any communication that may come to you to support you on your path of spiritual growth.   Walk in silence, yet with presence to the moment.  Not thinking of the past nor the future.  But present to all that is in the moment while walking, listening to what may arise.  End the walk with a moment of gratitude.


Walk a labyrinth – If you have one available to you, walking a labyrinth is another way of walking as body prayer.  A labyrinth is a pathway created on the ground that symbolizes life’s journey.

Stand at the entrance and set an intention to open yourself to the Divine. While walking toward the center, consider what you can let go of that is weighing you down in your life.

When you reach the center, pause and be fully present to the moment and any message that may arise. As you turn to walk the path out of the labyrinth, consider how to integrate any wisdom you received.  Pause again at the end, which is where you began, to express your gratitude.

​To deepen your experience with body prayer, you can bring together the singing of sacred text with movement, as I did with St. Hildegard’s Kyrie.  From the beginning of time, people have engaged in similar sacred movement and song as a way to connect with Spirit and come together in ceremony or celebration.

Today, we can sing, engaging our breath and vocalizing the sacred words while enhancing the experience through moving the body intentionally with the music. It connects us with the depth and truth of the meaning of the sacred text, experienced within our whole being. This is a potent and powerful spiritual practice where you can experience a sense of unity with Source and with the universe through deep peace.


The Dances of Universal Peace are one wonderful way we can experience this in community. These group dances are simple and yet profound.  They are set to sacred texts and mantras from the world’s spiritual traditions and taught to the group by a Dance Leader often with live music accompaniment. The movements are inspired from the sacred texts and embody the essence of the spiritual message and our relationship to Life. Through repetition of the sacred phrase and flowing movement, there is a meditative deepening that arises.

Interested in exploring more ways to engage in body prayer?  Check out the offerings at the FICS in Boulder.