Monday, February 6, 2012

Directing Intention (accidental learning during yoga)

While doing a yoga routine I found on Youtube, I heard the Yogi say "set an intention" followed by a short pause before starting. I'm not that well-versed in yoga, and had no idea at all about what it meant, so during the pause I had to think back, what did she say? Somehow it registered in my head as "Direct your intention" and that made sense to me. I thought she meant something along the lines of "Be in your body. Be present. Be mindful" as in, every stroke of the hand, every lifting up of the self from the floor, should feel intentional. That my desire should follow through with what I'm doing, or, that I should act like what I'm doing follows through with my desires.


Apparently, what she said was "set an intention for your practice" and what this means in yoga is to dedicate your practice to something. Your health, your children, anything, not as a novena-like, future-embedded wish but a way of being, in the now, a way of dedicating what you are doing right there on the mat, as an actualization of the self you want to be. Presently. Beautiful thought, and a bit similar, but not totally.

Even so, I found my misheard version of the instruction to be very wise. Direct your intention. Those words, even though misheard, guided me throughout the whole 27 minutes of the video to be present, still, sort of emptying myself of inhibition and thought, allowing myself to be occupied by trust in the sound of the Yogi's voice, to follow her instructions, and my body's messages. And the risk of sounding loony, it made what I was doing feel powerful. I felt the good that the practice was doing in my muscles, my bones, and my veins. It was as if I was hypnotized, but not by something outside myself (like a tyrant) but by something bigger than me that is inside all of us. I'm essentially an atheist, but you're welcome to read it as "god" if that's your cup of tea. Or, I guess it's safer to say that I felt one with the practice itself. Which is quite remarkable in its own right. I'm somebody who usually lives in her head and is immobilized by the moment.

In my PE classes this week, I found this nugget of wisdom to really help when I feel less than enthusiastic about busting a move. When you direct your intention, directing your action becomes unnecessary. Your body just does what you want. It stops resisting you, and you stop dragging it. You both want to punch through the muscle pains, the gasps, the sweat, the rising heartrates. It's a feeling similar to what one would feel while imagining that they are a bullet heading ceaselessly towards an aim. This feeling may be old to most of my already-actualized, headstrong, strong-willed friends, but for us lot, the sloths of the urban jungle, the forever hesitant crowd, it may sound more relatable and hence helpful.

In terms of exercise, this is very easy to apply. You just direct your intention in every flying taebo fist and every heavy hamstring you lift to kick an imaginary despicable popstar infront of you. In subtler physical acts as the one I am in the middle of now, where actions are dynamic and complex, and are in need of constant thought, It's much harder. But I'm willing to try and cross the gap.

No comments:

Post a Comment