April 10, 2014
I is for…
When you attend yoga class, it’s called yoga practice. The teacher isn’t the boss, just a guide who suggests possibilities for your practice. But you call the shots, and you base your calls on what your body is telling you.
You don’t judge your body or mind or state of balance or anything. You simply observe where you are today and move and stretch and breathe accordingly. If your balance isn’t very good tonight, no matter—just observe it, don’t judge it, and modify the pose to suit your degree of balance. If one side of your body is weaker or wobblier than the other is tonight, no matter—just observe it, no judgment. If your body says, oh, heck, no, I’m not stretching or twisting there tonight; that hurts, no matter—no judgment; just adjust and do what your body can do.
It’s a practice, not a performance.
Don’t judge it.
It’s a practice, not a competition.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Before you begin a practice, you are encouraged to set an intention for the practice. The intentions are as numerous and varied as the people in the class. You could set an intention for relaxation, for de-stressing, for letting go, for guidance in a decision, for improved health, for release of anger, for courage.
My instructor brings with her to a class a box of intention cards, wax-coated cardstock with a suggestion for an intention and a personage/figure imposed above and below a stylized piece of artwork.
I usually set my own intention, but for the past two practices, as part of my surrender discipline (the word that chose me for 2014 is “surrender”—grrr), I have selected an intention card. To do this, I walk up to the spread deck and select a card with my non-dominant hand.
I don’t recall entirely what my first intention card selection was, but I know it was suitable. I think I remember something about the Inner Self. When does that not apply, right?
But last night’s I remember in vivid detail—in part because it was just last night (duh—LOL), but also because the selection was so. ridiculously. fitting.
The intention: New Beginnings
The personage: Divine Father
- Having ended an almost 18-year relationship earlier this year, truly not knowing what’s to come in the next twelve months, having made some changes in my career path, considering new possibilities in vocation and avocation…new beginnings? Check.
- Having grown tired of the anxiety attacks that have recently begun assailing me, and determined to shift my approach from a predominantly negative default to an intentionally positive framing, having begun practicing said shift…new beginnings? Check.
- Having summer plans to attend a conference in England and help run a writer’s workshop for grownups (as opposed to high school students)…new beginnings? Check.
- Having spent the majority of last year working toward a willingness to reconsider speaking to the God of diamonds…Divine Father? Check.
- Having spent the majority of a ten-plus-hour road trip talking out loud to God and sobbing in his face…Divine Father? Check.
- Having recently understood that I had been talking to and believing in an artist’s (bad) representation of God instead of the actual God of love for most of my life, and learning to be completely open and honest with him about who I am and what I want (“come as you are, not as you think you ought to be”)…Divine Father? Check.
Intention cards provide something else for the mind to focus on beside one’s breath. They provide the opportunity to practice a meditative and mostly wordless prayer.
Last night’s yoga practice was intentional, and that intentionality and those specific intentions have dissolved the insecurity almost completely out of my chest, where it has sat, like a bad guest, and wreaked depressive havoc for days.