At the beginning of a yoga class we often set intentions. The physical practice on the mat can be considered a creative expression of these intentions. The themes I work with in class are broadly related to non-attachment, gratitude, giving and receiving, creative action, conscious living, conscious practice, loving kindness, open body-open mind… and many others. As we begin the New Year I offer “setting intentions” as the intention itself. To set intention is an important practice, whether or not you are a yoga practitioner. It is important to tune to your body, your breath, and your heart in order to connect with your true desires, rather than the mind’s deceptions. One must stay grounded in intentions to move forward both spiritually and emotionally.
The physical yoga practice can help us develop this process. Setting strong foundations on the yoga mat could be viewed as a metaphor for setting strong intentions in how we live. In standing postures we ground the feet down to the mat, we fortify the legs, and draw that power to our core centre. The core centre is considered the emotional area of the body, so this action helps to develop a strong connection to deep emotions. In postures such as downward dog and plank pose, we press the hands into the mat and draw energetically from both hands and feet to our spiritual heart between our shoulder blades. This action not only softens and opens the heart, it also develops stability, strength, and confidence in the action of listening to your heart. From the heart we extend back along the torso, out through the limbs, all the way to the foundation in the hands and feet – or metaphorically, from our heart we extend back out to the world. The heart is where our intuition, compassion, and wisdom live, together making up the True Self.
So as the New Year begins, I encourage you to listen to your heart and begin to set strong intentions based on your true heart’s desires. Instead of making lists of New Year’s resolutions of physical actions, make lists of how you would like to feel, how you would like to be, in the coming year. Maybe you want to laugh more, to love more, to be stress free, to be healthier, to let go of worries. Maybe you need to work with trusting in life more (this is a good one as we could all do with trusting in life!).
Sit in silence focusing on the flow of your breath. Place your attention at the spiritual heart, at the centre of your chest, and set your intentions there. The more time you can spend focusing on the heart centre, the more tuned-in you will become with the steps you could take to have a more fulfilling life.
The year ahead is the dawning of a time, according to the Myans. An age where we begin to move from a place of truth, wisdom, and compassion, instead of a place of self centred power and self gain. A powerful global shift in consciousness is already happening. As long as you are being true to yourself and others, you will be fully supported in the realisation of your heart’s desires. You don’t have to worry about how it will all manifest. Simply trust, allowing the force of nature to carry you along the way.
The entire universe wants you to realise your True Self and will support you in doing so. Setting the intention to work with your heart’s desires throughout 2012 is worthwhile. It is living with the awareness of the rising of a New Age and a very positive start to the New Year.
Be Happy, Be Peaceful, Be Free.