Yoga and meditation is about trying to do everything with intention, every breath you take, every move you make (great song), every interaction – is action with meaning. It’s moving through our yoga class noting every placement, every posture, every modification, and every judgement. It also reminds us to put things in perspective and gives deeper meaning to those little moments when we’re able to let go of the stress of the day and focus on what we came to do – be in the room and practice.
So setting an intention clearly at the beginning of class is really the key to waking up – and as Will Hunting would say, “let the healing begin”.
I recently had breakfast with a yoga teacher who was telling me that she felt like she hit a plateau in her meditation practice. Let’s face it, we all get stuck in ruts in different aspects of our life from time to time. The difference between somebody that has REALLY hit a plateau in their life and somebody who continues to unfold in a real way, is the sincerity of their INTENTIONS. This yoga teacher is clearly passionate, disciplined, and dedicated to the honesty of her practice. It takes courage to feel that we can really BE open to our full potentiality and strengthen our attention. The whole sense of attention is challenging because it’s just so easy to space out on all the things we don’t really need to pay attention to during the day. It requires discipline and constant cultivation in an open, curious way.
This is why I often say that whole path of mindfulness is attention, intention, and attitude. We all have this sincere INTENTION to wake up, to be with what’s here – and then we train ourselves to pay ATTENTION to the little moments – noticing our ATTITUDE in a way that really frees us.
The Attention is: present moment awareness.
The Intention is: why am I paying attention? What is the purpose?
The Attitude is: how am I paying attention? Is my attention open, curious – or is it rigid and judgmental?
Reflecting on these three elements has become integral to my practice, and often forms the beginning or end of the sequence when I’m teaching, and frees me up when I’m giving an assist.
Most importantly, it connects my practice to the other important things in my life and extends into the rest of my day.
I hope this helps!