Yoga Off The Mat 3/27/18
by Eileen Torpy
“In 2018 I Will…”
Often at the beginning of a yoga class, we’re asked to set an intention for our practice. What do we want to choose to be in these sixty sweaty minutes. Strong? Forgiving? Focused? Peaceful? Happy? We choose a mantra to guide our practice. When the mental clutter is high, my intention almost never makes it with me after Namaste, and sometimes gets forgotten by the first Sun B. The days and practices where I do keep my intention feel like a quiet revolution to me and inspire me to engage in the magnificent struggle that is living with intention off the mat. While I believe setting intention is the genesis of living a meaningful life, it is easier said than done.
Setting intentions can be a real ratsnest. The new year brings a natural opportunity to start fresh, set goals, make resolutions, and re-energizes us to cultivate our best selves. While this motivation is magical and intoxicating (my god, how I love a vision board), pausing for reflection is a necessary component of this process. Have you ever been halfway into a chair twist and realized you set the wrong intention for yourself? Did I need to push myself to be stronger today or could it have been enough to just actually focus on breathing? Did I really need to try to force myself to unravel and let go of a huge problem of my life and become some self-actualized goddess in one class or could I have just held space and focused on acceptance? When determining the intentions we are setting for ourselves, the critical question we have to ask is: Is this rooted in love or fear? This is a concept that, for me, shows up on my mat but is woven into my everyday life.
I love SMART goals as much as more than the next person, but let’s give ourselves the benefit of the pause. Did we start these January healthy eating kicks because we love our bodies and want them to feel good or because we wanted to to shield ourselves from judgement and not hate them anymore? Did we want to nail our headstand because that bendy girl in the front row is super good at yoga and we’ve been coming here for 6 months now and why don’t we have one or because we’ve realized that it’s a good form of meditation? Sometimes, it’s both. Sometimes the root of the intention ping-pongs back between love and fear. In 2018, let’s acknowledge the beautiful mess that is intention setting and grow together from there.