In a yoga class last weekend, our teacher suggested that we choose an intention at the beginning of the class. She encouraged us to think about that intention as we inhaled, and visualize it happening on the exhale.I’ve taken this teacher’s class before, and I love that she invites her students to practice with an intention. She said, “Maybe your intention is to be joyful so on your inhale you think joy. But then on the exhale you think, ‘Yeah, right’…" We smiled as she continued, "Just let that go. Don’t think you messed up your intention; just keep calling it back with every inhalation.”
So on my mat last weekend I chose a challenging intention: “Love everyone.” I’d had an experience the day before where I was the target of someone’s unkind words, and I really wanted to love that person in spite of their behavior. Then, as I exhaled, I visualized little pink hearts floating away from my chest – right out of my heart and out into the world. Inhale, “Love everyone.” Exhale, ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥...
This sweet teacher reminded us to come back to our intention during the course of the class; to feel it and believe it. I felt so full of love at the end of the class! I was ready for anything that came my way.And then, like a mean little trick from the Universe, I was tested again just a few hours after class. My head was filled with judgment and ridicule directed at someone who innocently and unknowingly said something that I allowed to rub me the wrong way. Loving everyone was the farthest thing from my mind, and little pink hearts were definitely not flowing. My intention from that morning's yoga class flew right out the window.
“Don’t think you messed up your intention,” I could hear my teacher say.
“Just keep calling it back with every inhalation…”
An intention is just that - a thing intended, an aim or a plan. It's not a steadfast rule, and straying from that plan doesn't mean I've messed up. While I might have the best intentions, the fact remains that I am human. I know that there will always be situations to test me, but the practice of yoga is teaching me the art of starting over. I will continue to choose intentions, there will always be distractions, and I'll keep returning to my breath and intention, over and over again...
♥ ♥ ♥