Saturday, May 13, 2006

Yoga and intentions

In any class, when we are trying to get into a pose that requires a spinal twist or one sort or another, there will be a few individuals that can not only put themselves in a twisted pose but can also loop their arm around to comfortably bind it. (!) And then there are the rest of us who attempt to follow instruction with highly variable results. The instructor will often say, "Setting the intention to twist is important. With time, the rest will follow."

This intention is different from my common associations with the word. Generally, intentions are thought of as nice thoughts that are not acted on. Or a well meaning pretext for acts with ineffectual or even harmful results. In this frame of reference, an intention is not really worth much. In contrast, my yoga instructors would suggest that intention is a valuable thing.

In yoga class, it is a thought, fixed in the brain, that accompanies an action. The thought and action are tied together in gentle and patient practice again and again with a belief that over time you progress closer and closer to an action that mirrors your intention.

Today, we turn slightly while carrying in our mind the intention to turn slightly more and over time we find that we turn further and further. Perhaps at some point, we turn enough to see ourselves.

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