Yoga teachers regularly tell student to, “set an intention.” But what shows up on the mat with us is often a heap of unorganized thoughts from outside the studio that swirl around. At least 1/3 of the yoga practice (which has three parts: mind, body and breath) is harnessing these thoughts into a cohesive intention.
The many thoughts in our brains are like puzzle pieces. Some days it’s a puzzle intended for “2-years-and-up,” but more often it’s a 5,000-piece, mind-bending mound of pieces that seem impossible to fit together. Pieces appear along the way, popping up in between trikonasana and koundinyasana; or they come together as we move toward clarity.
This week in classes, think of refining your intention like piecing together a puzzle. Try patience, focus, and fun over frustration. Here are some ways to bring together the many pieces into one meaning:
- Start where you’re at. Rather than fighting your thoughts. Take a moment to reflect on all you’ve brought to the mat. Don’t try to fix anything right away, just notice all the pieces that showed up.
- Refine. Decide what will serve you in your yoga practice and what you can leave for later.
- Pick one topic. Decide on one thing to focus on and come back to. This is your “big picture.” There might be a lot of smaller pieces that make up that big picture, but keeping one main topic in mind will help you to weed out what’s relevant and what’s chatter in your mind as your practice. It’s like knowing what puzzle you’re trying to put together before you go sorting through the pieces.