In the school of raja yoga there are 8 different limbs or subsets. the most commonly associated limb with yoga in the US is asana, the postures. I got into yoga as a way to stretch more to help my running out. pretty soon running became second to yoga. i was doing it 7 times or more a week. i couldn't get enough. but it was purely the asana i was doing, and it was purely physical. sure i got little touches of other things here and there, we all do when we do yoga it's one of the reasons we keep going back for more. but it's mainly about physicality not prayer for most. I went to yoga school for a few reasons. 1) a second skillset i could fall back on or use if needed/wanted to. 2) to "deepen my practice" and become more skilled at the postures. 3) to learn more about this things that i had been practicing for so long. what is yoga? what is the origins… etc.
Of course yoga is different for each person. but part of the school of yoga that isn't a limb is prayer. you have your mantras and your pujas and your kirtans. all forms of prayer to the higher gods and the gods within ourselves. but this is not asana. asana is not prayer. or is it?
Yesterday I had Zarina, my fellow WWOOF housemate here show me how to practice Salat, or the muslim prayer 5 times a day. though it didn't really click with me (don't worry mom, i'm not changing my Judaism to Islam) i did appreciate it what it meant. There was a lot of movement going on it. Bend over, stand up, kneel, sit down (in a position similar to virasana), stand again. repeat. almost like a vinyasa of sorts.
After learning Salat, i went to practice my yoga for the day. I kept thinking of the similarities of the asana practice with Salat. then i started to think of the asana as a purification of the body and a prayer to the god within myself. I went through my practice and kept thinking that this time it was a prayer, that asana can be seen as a prayer for ourselves and i felt that having this view also helped deepen my practice for the day. If you are an active practicer, maybe you would want to try this as well and see how it works for you.