Anyway, according to Wikipedia, the contemplative prayer is something like the third quality of praying in the christian context. First comes the written ones, second the persons own words for god and third, if these first ones won't do the trick, comes the contemplative one. That means there is no words, no wishes, just the person, being there. It's a sort of silence, a moment of just listening what is present, as I understand it. I think I might have even experienced this during my religious years, being depressed and ready to give up on life.
In terms of practise, to be present requires bocoming a body, arriving to the present moment, that you are. With all the meditation experiences that I have had, there has always been this letting your thought, that are mostly dealing with the past and the future, to pass through you without attaching to them. I think this is parallel to Deborah Hay's practise of perception, where you try to constantly dis-attach from the perceptions during the practise. Also, it seems to have similarities to this concept of solullistuminen by Satu Palokangas. It deals with tuning into the cellular knowledge of the body. During the course Tidal Bodies, given by Satu in Art Uni Helsinki in autumn 2017, she often reminded us about how this is not a process of doing, but a process of being.
What is then?
There is life, this energy that moves within me. There is breathing that I can guide but not control. There is this body happening, wether I want it or not. If we don't take into account the possibility of suicide, then this mind-body will continue to re-organize itself, to reform, until the process slows down and we die.
There is this basic functionality within us, the basic instinct to be balanced, well and healthy. Then there is a lots of stuff, that happens through our life that disturbs this balance. To make an example through dance, I will share some personal experience:
As so many other girls in this world, I also learned that my value as a human being has something to do with how well I can fulfil the beauty standards of the woman imagery. My subconscious undertook the tasks of being small, easy going and light. During my BA studies in dance we had a lot's of Alexander technique as part of the studies. As many of you know, there is this phrase of "come to your own lenght". I will never forget the moment, when I was standing in the dance studio, during the legendary jazz dancer and choreographer Tarja Rinne's class, and suddenly realising, as a result of the Alexander classes and the one I was in, that this is how long I am. This is how much space I take. And that this is the feeling of not hiding, not holding back or trying to be something else that I am. It was a moment like the moments after rain, when the clouds disappear and the air is clear and all the smells and colours are somehow more vivid.
I had so many holding pattens (and I still have), that resulted from emotional trauma, depression and this need to be small and pretty. In order to be able to move my hips, back or to jump properly, I had to work so hard not only with my body but with my mind. I worked on letting go of wanting to make a beautiful pirouette, wanting to have a good balance etc, to actually be able to see what's there already. By letting the things that were happening within me to be present, I only started to be able to learn.
I think this is what Hay might mean when she says "take your hole body with you, the teacher". That only by tuning in to the body, we can have access to the process of the present, the emotions and patterns that we are repeating and that are shaping us. And since we will never be able to fully control this body and life, we should learn to listen. And from the place of listening, to gently re-direct ourselves.
So the contemplative body would be something that is meditation on the body's present in order to experience life. To balance the mind-body would be the prayer that brings the "peace of mind", that religion is maybe in it's best cases also looking for.
To appreciate life is to appreciate the body. If you only appreciate the transcendent, there will be no peace for nature or human life, because they both will just be seen as a inconvenient pace between the now and forever.