Several yoga classes begin with a meditation, or setting of an intention. This is a great time to bring focus to the question of you want/need from the day's practice. You may want to consider setting an intention on a daily, weekly, monthly basis or longer.
It takes practice to turn inward and discover what you truly want or need. Many of us were brought up to do as we were told. Sports were based on performance, and winning was the primary goal. The feeding of the spirit may have been a rare or completely void aspect of our everyday lives.
The practice of intention is well worth the investment. In January of 2014, I set my intention for the upcoming year. I asked myself who I wanted to be, and how I could make my life better. I decided that the wall I had built around my heart must come down. I had been able to do the work at my local yoga studio, but returned to my old habits during the rest of my life. The journey has been incredible and life changing. I have made connections with family, made new friends, and began recording my thoughts in this blog. I am more available for others now that I am more connected to myself.
All of this work on intentions and heart opening has allowed me to come to a simple conclusion that really shocked me. Maybe I could open up and ask for what I want in other situations. I thought of a situation that was far from ideal, and asked myself what my dream outcome would be. When I contacted the other parties involved, the final solution worked out better than the one that I proposed. This is so simple, but was also very profound. Imagine asking for what I wanted - shocking! I was able to use my energy to maintain connections with others, rather than using my resources in maintaining the wall around my heart.
Call it an intention, a dream, or a resolution. You can set goals that leads to emotional and personal growth. When you do this work, it improves all of your personal and professional interactions.
To get started, you need to reflect during some quiet time to yourself. You may prefer a daily walk in nature, prayer, meditation, yoga asana (postures), or a combination of a few of these things. Here are some steps to help you begin to find and work toward your intention.
1. As you begin, ask yourself what changes you'd like to see, and begin to visualize that change in your life.
2. Notice if there is any physical tension that is connected with that emotion or change. Breathe deeply and try to soften that tension.
3. When you find that feeling or situation arising in your everyday life, return to your breath and the softness. Remind yourself of the change that you want to make.
4. When you feel that change becoming habit, ask how you could expand it to create a better world.
You do not have to be satisfied with, "that's just the way that I am". You have the power to set an intention, make a change, create better thoughts and a better life. It will improve things for those around you as well! Change your inner dialog, change your physical response, and you can change the world!
Live your yoga every day - Beth