One of my favorite moments in a yoga practice is setting an intention. In order to do so, I find a more ethereal sense of myself. I may have already noticed my breath and points of tension in my body, but setting the intention requires an awareness of something greater, a touch point to a sense of being in that moment.
The intention might be a way I want to feel during the practice, strong, courageous, patient, accepting, or it might be something I want to bring into my day, week or life, like more space between reactivity and action, or greater acceptance of the way things are. Often, I place that intention on love and care for someone in my life or the world that might need the positive energy. By touching my third eye with my thumb knuckles, I trust the power of intuition and desire, and then hand it over to the Universe.
Throughout the practice, one of the things I love to do is touch back into the intention whenever my forehead touches the Earth, whether in child’s pose, preparation for Shalabhasana, or rolling over onto my right side after Savasana. This connection to the Earth brings the intention into the physical.
So what is my intention for the week ahead, for teaching these young nuns, beyond the physical asana? These girls have never practices yoga, but they are surrounded by a reverence for the moment and prayer. The physical practice can then be in service to the greater yogic principles, but which ones will be relevant?
Rolf Gates, who has led special classes at OTM, was my teacher in 2013, published his second book, Meditations on Intention and Being, and I love the diagram in the Introduction because it outlines a blueprint for my teaching this week: Intention, Loving-Kindness, and Mindfulness.