I never used this term, as I related it to religion and I thought, people pray in a church, mosque, temple or on their own to their god. I even had issues with the term god, as I don’t belong to a religion and don’t believe in god.
Even if this is still the same, my attitude made a full turn-around when I went to India for my teacher training first time and saw how open and easy people deal with their gods (yes they have more) and how they pray. I learned about the Hindu gods, and I love all the stories around them, colorful and beautiful analogies. And I like that they have a name, a family, a face, a body, certain things around them and everything is representing something important in life. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. They seem real. Even with a lot of arms and other magical attributes.
India took away the strictness and tightness I saw in religion as such and showed me a world full of openness, laughter, ease and same time seriousness. I learned to put my hands in prayer in front of my heart center during my yoga practice and nothing felt wrong with it. It wasn’t religious, it felt and still feels as a ritual.
However I still replace the term god with universe when reading a spiritual text and I still don’t pray, but strongly believe, it’s just a matter of definition. I recite mantras, I talk to the universe, I challenge the law of attraction, I ask and give thanks to my angles.
Well, guess some would call it praying.