One day I was given a moment at the beginning of my practice to set an intention. This caused a bit of a ruckus in my mind on and off my mat. I thought, “Why don’t I have an intention? What do I intend?” The moment to set the intention ended and my practice began. “Ahh ! Nobody move! I don’t have one yet!”
I felt like I was holding a dandelion trying to make a wish. With cheeks full of air, eyes wide and holding my breath until I was blue in the face a sudden gust of wind stripped my wish and left me with a limp stem.
I’d never had a problem with intentions before, why now? It was as though I suddenly forgot the definition and the gap between me and self grew far, thus dividing myself. I thought I was there to yoke, to connect mind and body, to unite!
After Savasana I collected the pieces of myself, stepped off my mat and asked myself ‘what the hell just happened?”
It's funny, we do this thing where we forget the simple things and choke on the complex. I was reaching for the meaning of life in that moment on my mat and had been taking my practice for granted. What I really intended was to release tension, to reenergize, to breath, to allow my mind and my body to feel compassion for one another. I wanted to be a part of the community, to share my energy with those around me and find the best me I could be so I could share this with others.
I find myself and my students tend to forget to take a moment to be grateful to ourselves for our practice and remember what brought us to our mat. We are often quick to note our shortcomings before we measure our success. There was a day that we had never heard of yoga, a day we had never tried yoga, a day we had no idea what Downward Dog was and thought we would never touch our toes. What did you believe you couldn’t do when you started that you can do now? Take a moment to stop reading and think of at least one thing or recall the details of your first class.
Now give yourself some credit.
More often than not we forget who we are because we are too busy thinking about who we are not. Next time you are asked to set an intention for your practice, remember why you are on your mat, remember where you have come from and where you are going, remember to be grateful to yourself and your practice. And whether you are on or off your mat, intend to be a little bit more like yourself everyday.