I live my life by intention, or I do most of the time. I learnt about "intention" when I was in my very early 20's; 23 to be exact.
When I was 21, I got married to someone who was a bully, cruel and who set out to teach me a lesson. We spent the next 2 years living HIS intention.
I discovered intention crying in the underground toilets in Plymouth, scared to go out and face what was going to happen and see him. I couldn't go on. It was that simple...that was the moment I intended to divorce him when I got home.
Knowing this was what I wanted I endured 3 more days and the longest journey back to Southport; I was scared if he knew what I was going to do when I got home he would do something stupid.
I unpacked, he slept and the next morning I told him it wasn't working and my son and I lived with my mum and dad. And I was free I was finally, for the first time in years relax. My intention saved me even though I felt a failure and weak in those toilets a few days later non of that mattered. I won't pretend the years of divorce and trauma of access were easy, they were horrendous and he was still a brutal bully...but he wasn't in my life and I have been able to do everything and more that I wanted in my life with freedom. Those few seconds in those toilets changed my entire life and when I walk past them when I go down to Plymouth I appreciate them.
Intentions have power: Intentions change lives.
But, what is an intention? What does it actually mean? How does it work? And why do we even bother? Why do I always draw your attention to the intention of the class and then time to set your own?
Intention: A thing intended: An Aim or a Plan...
When we do yoga we are working both on our inside world and our outside physicality - we work with our breathing, clearing our minds of mental clutter and we use asanas (postures) to work with our bodies to release physical tension, emotions and to create a calmer mental state. This isn't always easy; in fact it can be downright impossible at time.
Intention is an awareness of action...
In yoga I may set the "Theme" (which I see as an intention) to practice Asteya (non-stealing) and during opening meditation I ask you to set the intention to not steal your own achievements in a pose, not compare yourself to the person next to you or to not compare yourself to anyone on social media...anything along those line. I am asking you to be aware of your inner world, your thoughts, how your thoughts of not being good enough steal your own peace of mind.
For example, in a balance pose such as the tree you are stood next to someone who is still and balanced and poised...you wobble and you compare and you fall out of the pose, you feel a failure. Or you go through a sequence at your pace and everyone is out of the last pose and waiting for you or you have finished the sequence and waiting...you feel embarrassed because you were "wrong". That is stealing from yourself.
Working with the intention of Asteya and the awareness would allow you to say in tree "I am comparing, therefore I am saying I am not good enough...where is my breath...where is my focus...I am where I am...If I can't balance...I just can't - today" or "I was too fast then, oh god what did I do wrong 😖" or "Why has everyone finished? Oh god they were all waiting for me! I am so embarrassed. I shouldn't have taken that extra breath there even though it was what I needed😩" or you could have awareness of "I need to take an extra breath in Tadasana, I need to ground before I move forward. I feel so much better - oh have we finished, I'm so sad I loved that and am going to do that in my home practice."
An intention allows us to Re-set; Re-focus and be aware of our inner needs that we so easily and frequently neglect.
When I say "Set your own Intention", I am giving you the chance to go inside and see what you crave that day - it might be anything from talk to the person next to me, ask someone a question or switch off from the need to talk or be the entertainer. It really doesn't matter, it is personal and private to you.
To set an intention, you just need to take 60 seconds, close your eyes and be still and see what comes to you. Your intention will come from inside you and they can be totally bewildering, out of nowhere, feel so right or a desire to achieve something in the future. An intention helps you to get where you need to be.
Working with intentions can take you out of your comfort zone, into new territories, into a whole new world that you never even knew existed. For myself, I have found when your work with your intention at the centre of your actions, and an awareness of where you need to be life can run smoothly - getting to the end point is not always easy, or without upset (my divorce and freedom was relatively quick but not without distress and not without me discovering I had a voice, and a powerful one at that).
If you work with an intention, you are unmovable and in the end where you need to be is so so much more beautiful than where you thought you wanted to be...but that is a whole different blog!
WHAT, WHY AND HOW
An intention is an aim or a plan
An intention gives you a focus, a target to aim for. Makes the intangible - real
An intention comes from moments of silence to go within and allow your heart and your intuition to guide what you need.
Hope you found this helpful, let me know what you think.
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