Many traditions combine prayer with movement. For Catholics, there’s “Prayer Motion”, increasingly used in Catholic schools and with elderly populations in nursing homes. For Muslims, there’s the Salah, the same specific prayers with movements, alignment and a prayer rug, done 5 times a day. For Tibetan Buddhists, and others, the practice of different “Mudras” align the spirit and are used help specific meditations to achieve specific states of higher consciousness. In the Sufi tradition of the middle eastern Muslim sect Whirling Dervishes did an ecstatic dance of whirling to achieve advanced states.
Prayer Motion uses biblical quotes, or religious hymns, which are sung and moved. Research has shown that it is effective in exciting more religious feelings in the participants, helping their stress levels, and with the children, improving concentration and focus on the rest of the school day.
In Muslim prayer, the same specific words/prayers, postures and movements are done, 5 times a day, with great physical and mental benefit to the congregant, according to research. The repetition of the prayer movements 5 times throughout the day helps provide a healthy break, improving the quality of life as well as the quality of work, quite often. Breaks during the day have been separately researched to provide benefit, but the prayer combined with repetition throughout the day gives a mental upliftment that is beneficial.
For “Mudra” practice, specific finger positions and postures are taken for a period of time while doing sitting meditation, so it’s not really a moving practice. It has anecdotal evidence of improving focus and concentration while meditating, and achieving advanced meditation states. Meditation has effect for the whole day, lowering stress, improving health outcomes, and helping participants be less reactive to their work/family stresses.
Movement prayer involves 3 components always: The words, the movements, and the mental focus, which is similar to Empatharian. Where movement prayer differs is perhaps in the intention towards a specific God or a specific state of mind. Empatharian uses words as a spiritual practice to attune to the specific words, and the intention of the words, but the religious specificity is not there. Empatharian is an embodiment process, where practitioners embody the meaning of the movements specifically.
Empatharian starts practitioners on “The Empath Stretch” which is a series of 12 movements, done 6 times addressing physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and creative aspects in each repetition. Rather than a prayer asking for something, the words of the empath stretch are an affirmation:
MAKING A STAND FOR PEACE-BUILDING EVERYONE EVERYWHERE WINS INSPIRED RESPECTFUL ENERGY SEEKING INNER JOY, WISDOM AND HEART CONNECTION.
After a period of 3-4 months of regular practice, when the practitioner embodies this practice, they will begin to do other practices which involve group discussion, creating movement demonstrations of other wisdom words, learning a larger vocabulary of movements, so Empatharian becomes a communication and a conversation as people do back and forth conversation.
If prayer in its most basic form is just simply a thought going out, Empatharian can be considered prayer in that way. However, as Wikipedia defines prayer: “Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity (a god), or a deified ancestor.” Empatharian is not religious in that way, so is not defined as prayer.