Thursday, November 13, 2014

Returning to intentions

“Have only love in your heart for others. The more you see the good in them, the more you will establish good in yourself…” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda


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...
♥ ♥ ♥

6 comments:

debs14 said...

Sorry to hear your intention was tested so soon after the class! When I come up against grumpy, angry people I try to make myself feel a little bit sorry for them. It must be horrible to be always finding fault with others and taking bitterness out on someone who is happy. Don't let them get to you, it isn't always easy to love people who aren't very loveable!

scrappyjacky said...

What a lovely,thoughtful post,Deb....and,oh yes, it's so easy to lose sight of a good intention....I love the idea of 'calling it back'.

Lady Ella said...

A timely post, thanks. Progress can seem slow and it's easy to lose sight of the goal but at some point you look back and realise improvements have been made. I find it hard to remember my intentions so it's nice to be reminded to keep trying.

Karen said...

Great post, Deb! I've always referred to my resolutions (or One Little Word) as intentions, and I love this definition. I've been feeling rather unsuccessful, and realize I need to keep the same word for 2015. Now I know that's just fine!

Gail said...

What a super post Deb. I love the idea of thinking of your intention with every inhalation and I love that quote you used, I'll have to remember it!

Taryn Garrod said...

I think you were talking about Maredith's class? She tests me every time I step on my mat to let go of my judgements and be present. Only one pose at a time. Only one intention at a time. Move on, and let go. I love it!

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