Intentions. Why are you doing what you are doing?
Everything we do is on some level either for survival or to be loved.
Or is it? What is your intention for your yoga practise? Through practices of forms of yoga, whether physical yoga asana, breath-work through pranayama, meditation or any of the other elements of yoga, we are all trying to find moments of pre-stillness on the way to samadhi. Here we are after nothing – just stillness. Nothing is pretty hard to imagine, let alone experience. This is what I am looking for in both my asana and my pranayama practise. I have to admit, it is rare that I actually get it. Here I find many of the same distractions or vrittis that I get in standard meditation. What is for dinner? Did I switch my phone off? What am I doing after work today? Blah, blah, blah. That little green pixie in the back of my mind wants attention and it wants it now.
Now enter the sankalpa or intentions. If you come to my classes I will ask you to set an intention after the initial synchronising of the breath with movement practice. Try to set an intention which is both real, infused with emotion and easily understandable for your subconscious. If you want to dedicate to your practice to being more present for a person in your life you could also visualise that person, get some feeling about them at the same time as thinking something like, “my intention for my practice is to be more present with XX”. When you suffuse an intention with visualisation, strong feeling and clear phrasing, then the subconscious is fully engaged or programmed.
Abstract, diffuse affirmations like “I want to be more successful” tend to be ineffective. Find something definite, expressed in the current moment. The programming has to be relevant. The aim here is to bring yourself back to this passionate intention throughout your practice whenever your mind begins to wander or your resolve begins to wane. It becomes a powerful anchor for the distractions of the mind. It is often straight after bringing this intention back, taking a breath and preparing to deepen your practice again that a little moment of samadhi or stillness appears.
As always, never forget to have fun too.
Have a great day.
Note: edited 6th of October. Added a couple of sentences and fixed a spelling mistake. Namasté :)