For me, setting an intention at the start of the practice definitely makes for a better class. Every time my mind wavers I bring it back to the intention. Today’s intention was “Do everything with love.” Yesterday’s — “Try your best. No more no less.” Breathing the intention through the shake of Plank pose or the wobble of Eagle helps bring me back to centre. It’s all about focus, right?
In this issue of U.S. Yoga Journal, there is an article about the contemplative aspect of asana practice and how breathing new energy into poses can help transform your life. Sometimes it’s tough to set an intention — the mind draws a blank. This exercise helped me uncover some intentions. Try it!
AFFIRM YOUR LIFE’S POSITION IN DOWNWARD DOG
Yoga Journal, February issue
Come to your hands and knees, close your eyes, and pour your attention into the places where each of your finger pads makes contact with the earth. Tuck your toes and lift the knees off the floor, extending your legs into Downward-Facing Dog.
Spread your fingers wider and press more intently into your hands. Ask yourself: “How best can I touch the world through these hands, these feet, and this body? What is the gift I have to offer the world?” Bend one knee, and press the opposite heel deeper toward the ground, first one side, then the other, stepping into this inquiry with your being.
Breathe and ask yourself, “What purpose can I invest my breath and strength into?” As answers to your questions arise, let them fuel your passion to both hold the pose and to commit to your purpose with greater focus and strength.
Maybe you’ll realise that your life’s purpose is to sing, or to garden, or to teach or write or nurture or inspire others. Imagine you are anchoring into your purpose through your hands and feet, emboldening it with the energy surging through your arms, torso, and legs, enriching it with each inhale and exhale. Feel yourself standing, wholeheartedly, in your dharma — your purpose or soul’s work. Welcome any words or images that arise.