Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What Is The Intent of Your Practice Today?

Do you set goals? Do you make lists of things you'd like to do or accomplish? Places you'd like to visit? Books you want to read? Hobbies or activities you hope to try? Experiences you want to have? Or ... in the grandiose scheme of goal-setting, do you make those dreaded New Years Resolutions?

Not gonna ask if you keep them :)

Yes, I am a List Person. And I am passionate about my check-lists. My binders. My Franklin Planner To Dos and my Hope To Achieve List. I have been known to set realistic as well as lofty goals. And I have learned that setting these goals makes reaching them more real to me ... and it gives me a better chance of achieving my dreams, hopes, and most significant aspirations. Saying them out-loud or writing them down makes me accountable to myself.

I am beginning to discover the vast usefulness of goals in all aspects of life.

As I've stated before, I'm new to Yoga. And I have become truly passionate about it. I am honestly devastated that it took me this long to discover the life-altering experiences offered by this form of mental and physical exercise with an actual teacher surrounded by other students ... I am beyond grateful to the Yoga Shelter of Royal Oak.

At any rate, I enjoy exercise (another quirky aspect of me, I know.) But I have discovered that Yoga is certainly not limited to enhancing physical strength, endurance, toning or weight loss. Yoga is fundamentally a spiritual exploration. A mental workout.

The last couple sessions, my instructors have posed an intriguing question: What Is The Intent of Your Practice Today? That questions stumped me at first. I was there to exercise, right? But with that question, I found myself wondering ... might I be seeking something else as well?

Of course, the intent might just be as simple as exercise and a smooth flowing workout. Sometimes that's all I'm seeking and all I want to achieve. Sweat off that Coldstone indulgence or piece of pizza.

But lately, I've begun to seek more and observe my experience differently. The "intent of my practice" has evolved as well. No, I'm not gonna share my intent today. Instead, I'm curious to challenge you like my instructor challenged me. Each day when you rise, do you have an intent? Are there people or things or activities you specially value? Are you doing something to reach them ... to reach that goal? Is there something special you are working for or toward? Do you have dreams? Do you have a List?

When I know the "intent of my practice," I find I can handle a lot more. I can reach deeper, hold on longer and breathe in the challenging or difficult moments. Achieve balance and calm amidst a busy, crazy world. Find strength when I'm shaking. And if I fall down, I can get up, shake it off and try again.

So what is the Intent of Your Practice today? Finding out may open doors you may have never noticed before. Might be a question worth considering.

Unless, of course, all you want is to keep sweating ....