Many people feel that yoga is to touchy feely. The “om” sound as the first sound in the universe used in some chants can be a little overwhelming for some people who feel that it smacks of religion. I have to admit that even though I’m a singer I really don’t like the classes where there is a lot of chanting. Probably one of the reasons I love Pat’s classes since the most touchy feely thing we do is meditate, bow and say “Namaste” at the end of class.
For years I didn’t do intention setting and I think that’s what kept me off the mat for large chunks of time. A few weeks ago I made a concerted effort to set an intention and since then I’ve felt lighter when I practice. Now I spend a few minutes before I begin to “check” in with my body, to see what might be hurting or feeling a little stiff to see how hard or gentle I need to be with my physical self and to reaffirm my reason for being on the mat.
Some mornings I don’t repeat my intention before I begin, but it’s always there now, in the background. It’s an ongoing issue, one I think will take a while to work my way through. Intention setting can be anything from “I’m going to master that pose” to “I need help with XXX at work” or “please send me peace of mind” it can be material or spiritual it can be general like world peace, it doesn’t matter it just has to be something that has meaning to you.
Now, I think that if you ask to win the lotto you might be putting quite a bit of pressure on your practice! Really that’s not in the spirit of things, you need to get to the bottom of your intention setting, keep asking yourself “WHY?”. Maybe you have a reason you want to win the lotto – your house needs a new roof? vacation? independence to do the things you want? Maybe winning the lotto isn’t the right intention – what ever is at the bottom of the intention is the actual reason but your brain has done the math for you and has concluded that the only way to achieve what you want is for you to win the lotto – hence you saying your intention is winning.
But what if that isn’t the only way to get what you want? What if the root of the problem has more than one solution? What if your brain has jumped to this conclusion? This is actually what it means to set an intention. It’s ment to make you get to the root of the problem and that’s what yoga helps you with. Freeing your brain to work while giving your body the ability to become flexible and healthy.
Meditation is also something I’ve never done, always confused as to how to do it and what you should be doing while you’re doing it but this year I think I’ve figured out the “what” now I just have to master the “how”. Meditation is difficult to do, sitting and allowing the ideas in your head to rush by and not react to them is a very HARD thing to do – try it for 5 minutes – find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes and just “be” for 5 minutes……it is NOT easy! I think of the million things I should be doing and then I start thinking of old conversations or arguments that were years ago – it’s almost like your brain is fighting anyway it can and unfortunately it knows all the right buttons to push. Intention setting here is important because by now your thinking of the WHY questions and your brain might not like what your coming up with, your truth.
For years I never understood why people said “your not doing yoga right if you don’t cry on the mat” I don’t believe this to be true, but I understand it now. Using intention setting in conjunction with the physical movements and the meditation can bring up a lot of nasty things but it can also bring beautiful thing wonderful memories you may have forgotten. It may give you a chance to think outside the box and help you find solutions to issues that may have seemed insurmountable before.
For me yoga is a tough answer to a question I’ve been asking for a long time. I still have trouble getting on my mat I really don’t want to face the truth, who does? I’m going to continue to cajole myself to do this because I think it helps me and one day I’ll thank myself for it. I feel physically and mentally stronger and better for doing yoga. Meditation on the other hand is still frustrating I’m trying to get up to 10 minutes….so far I’ve made to 6!
Ok, I’ve procrastinated long enough, now I need to go and do a practice with meditation, need to put my money where my mouth (or fingers) is!
Have a wonderful day, it’s beautiful out again and after my yoga I’m going to go for a walk in the sunshine.