“All great acts are ruled by intention. What you mean is what you get!” – Brenna Yovanoff
“Nothing is more creative.... nor destructive... than a brilliant mind with purpose” – Dan Brown
“Our intention creates our reality” – Wayne Dyer
We hear wonderful quotes about intention and purpose, and we know how important is to live with those in our lives, but what about our Yoga practice?. Whether you are a Yogi seeking physical benefits or one that lives Yoga in a more holistic manner, setting an intention or a purpose before your session might prove to give you un-expected gains in your practice. This blog entry shares perspective and own personal experience about incorporating a “Purpose” or Intention setting at the beginning of the class to bring another dimension to the practice.
For me, the biggest roadblock for transformation is my self-imposed mental barriers driven mostly by the Ego. Letting go/Accepting/Changing/evolving is hard because we resist to it, our mind and our ego do a superb job in making the process of change or accepting/letting go a hard one to follow. But rest assured Yoga and meditation can help lowering the walls built by the ego enabling the flow of life and acceptance to take place if we set the intention for it.
I welcome intention setting before starting my practice for most of the times, it helps my mind to focus and also gives a deeper meaning to the way I live Yoga, for me, when performing a series of Asanas (postures) I start entering to a state of relaxation, a state when the never ending ego and mind slow down if I focus strong enough, on this state I am far more receptive to alternative forms of meditation and transformation & change, how is this? in my normal state, my mind & ego is constantly thinking creating a barrier for accepting many situations I am in creating roadblocks for personal & spiritual transformation, almost as if my mind is in a defensive state where change, acceptance, grief have no place, the mind would prefer to distract itself with my lifestyle which can be full of activities, things to go/do or even things to think about.
But when I practice the physical side of Yoga, my mind enters in a state where “constant thinking” could happen if allowed, but if I focus on my breath this constant thinking weakens, so, in my view, it is here when I open space for transformation, my defences lower and I can work with releasing anger, or working on accepting a situation, or open the gates of my heart and release emotions, there have been a few times when I have found myself crying, or when I have laughed, even I have allowed myself to feel anger; the magic thing is that when I allow those feelings to surface then they weaken and eventually disappear. I recall vividly to this point that it was at the end of a very vigorous Ashtanga practice when I realized I had to break an engagement 10 years ago, as tears rolled out of my eyes while lying down in Savasana I knew I had to do it. Of course, I don’t regret this decision, the complete opposite, a decade later every cell of my body knows I made the right decision. Perhaps without Yoga I would not have taken this courageous decision.
As a teacher, I seek to incorporate an intention often into my classes, and the intention is deep. I teach from my heart as I have experienced the healing power of Yoga beyond postures and as such I invite people to follow. Of course, this has raised a few eye brows! Especially from those ones new to my class, sometimes they look at me thinking “what? I didn’t come here to work on accepting anything... etc”, however, the majority by the end of the class feel the benefits of letting that intention work through their entire system.
Sometimes, it is just about allowing the intention or purpose to enter, that is the only job we must do, sometime it is about working harder to release deep seated emotions while your mental walls are down. This for me is transformation, as a Yoga teacher my responsibility is to create a space of transformation.
This might or might not be for you, but Yoga will work through all your systems (emotional, mental, physical and energetic), we know that Yoga is a body, mind and spirit practice, so why not letting do the job?
I quote the Yoga Sutra Patanjali: “Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind, then there is abiding in the Seer’s own form”. When the mind is still we see things as they are, it is then when we can change, transform and evolve.
Thank you for reading. Comments welcome
Yoga teacher & Senior Scientist working full time with a major Multinational.