When I was in yoga teacher training, they suggested that we never cue Anjali Mudra as “hands at prayer.” They explained that many people have baggage with the term prayer so it’s better to just use the Sanskrit or say “hands at heart center.” 

Three years ago when I was in that training, I was one of those people who didn’t want to hear the word “prayer” in a yoga class. It made me want to tell the teacher, “Not me, I’m not allowed.”

And when I bring my hands to heart center, and my thumbs press into my sternum, I often remember the scar on my right thumb. It’s smaller now than when I was 16 when it happened, but I still see it. It’s a burn from cooking dinner with a friend in high school on New Years Eve, 2010. 

When I came out to that friend two years later, she said the words that broke me. They still echo, even though I don’t believe them. 

“You can’t be a Christian and be gay at the same time.” 

She said those words in a text message, and we didn’t talk much after. We haven’t now for years, and I suppose that’s the way it should be. It’s not anger that I feel when I think of it, but a deep desire that she will acknowledge she’s wrong one day. Not even to me, but to her children, to her friends, to her family. I hope one day she holds space for someone else to live in what she once believed to be hypocrisies and see them for what they are – beautiful. 

Now when I bring my hands to heart center, it’s not the text I think of as much, but more so the resounding sense that people change. I’ve seen it happen with my family. I’ve seen people open their hearts to me and my wife in surprising, stunning ways. So now, with my hands at heart center, it’s not just a hope but is a prayer. Because I am allowed. 

Open hearts and eyes to see the beauty in how we were created. 


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