Intention. It works when its effortless…

We are progressing nicely with our first YLP Teacher training. Last week we tackled Module No 2 (out of 18) entitled, ‘The Core of Yoga Practice’.

Focused on the ‘Yoga Path’ we looked at how the path inwards can be reflected in the structure of the class through a carefully composed combination of body, breath and mind techniques shaped by mindful action.

This is the core yoga practice.

One step on that path is ‘Intention’. We focus a lot on that in class.

Intention is linked to Action, Purpose and Commitment embedded in the Now. When Intention is central to the experience of Now it becomes effortless. Its no coincidence that the first two words in the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are:

‘And Now…’

To make an Intention in practice prompted a great discussion on what it really means. Here is a note from Andrea, a YLP trainee yoga teacher who tells us,

I woke up this morning I had a real urge to put something down on paper about effortless intention. For me it was just a really important moment of clarity and I thought that in the future it would be something really nice to refer back to. I thought you might like to have a read of it:

A transition to effortless intention

In 2011 I embarked on a journey of Reiki healing. A psychotherapist I was visiting at the time for anxiety and panic attacks recommended Reiki.  We had hit a brick wall and progress wasn’t being made, my anxiety, worry and stress continued. Things just did not seem right in my world but with no obvious solution, it was time to try something new.

Reiki is a natural healing method that works on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms by healing the 7 chakras. A reiki treatment begins with setting an active intention for the highest good of oneself or for another who is receiving a Reiki treatment. The intention could be anything from “I want to feel rested”. “I want to understand a certain situation” or if you are giving a treatment to another, a possible intention could be “I want John to feel relaxed, safe and enjoy the Reiki treatment” Whatever the intention is my understanding of Reiki is that you or another would surrender to the treatment. You may (or may not) find that answers and ideas may transpire during a treatment or maybe sometimes afterwards to help you with your intention.

My personal experience of Reiki is that ideas or answers would rarely come to me during treatments but they would do so through words, images, dreams, situations, synchronicity and through challenges or issues with others. Along the way I have come to understand my wounds, behaviours and the patterns that have existed in my world. I have explored the possibility of past life experiences and how they could have affected my life today and I learned that through interactions and observations with others I am able to obtain the greatest of insights in myself, so for example what I find a challenge in others will be a challenge in myself.  By using Reiki I have been able to heal myself of wounds that I have held within myself both past and present in order to help myself and others in the future. Through Reiki I have become more creative and more my true self. There are have been moments of crystal clear clarity, it really has been a positive influence and experience. However there has been one very significant factor that has been a constant struggle in my Reiki journey and that has been to “surrender.”

On reflection when I think of my approach to my Reiki journey I have approached it like I approach everything, the words “bull in a china shop” spring to mind. Obstacles and challenges are bulldozed and if I am struggling to find a solution I work very hard to find one and won’t stop until I do. To surrender has not been an easy task for me. Although I have been able to surrender at times there have been moments when I have found myself letting go and the fears immediately “kick in.” I hear myself thinking, “this isn’t going to go well, this isn’t going to go right, I won’t like the outcome, it is going to hurt” and I immediately take back full control. I have come to realise that this approach is exhausting and it no longer works for me but to surrender means that you have to let go of the control, put faith and trust in life, in the Universe.

I recently embarked on a Yoga teacher training course and during the module two we had a discussion around what intention means in yoga practice. I have to admit I started to panic because although I had heard about the word “intention” mentioned lots of times in yoga class it was the first time I had thought about what it meant for myself and how I would use this in practice as a yoga teacher. Suddenly I felt lost and a little confused, all the years of practicing yoga had I really forgotten to set myself an intention before practice, had I really been doing it wrong all these years, do I really know what I am doing? Suddenly I remembered that the night before I had been reading about Pareto’s law and how we can relate it to our daily lives.   The idea is that we spend 20 % of our time in active planning and creativity but then 80 % of the time just letting things happen. With this in mind and through discussion and interaction with my teacher and fellow yogis something clicked. I realised that through my yoga practice I was already practicing letting go, something that I did not know I could do. Any intention held in my heart or for a brief moment in my mind prior to yoga practice was released as I focused on relaxing, asanas, pranayama and meditation. I was working through my intention with little effort just focusing on just being present in my yoga practice. It was that moment of clarity that I realised how far I had come, that I was no longer stuck in the past. What needed to be healed had been healed by active intention with reiki but for now it had served its purpose.   It was time continue on my path with focus on a new and fresh approach but unbeknown to me it had already happened, a transition to effortless intention had taken place, I had effortlessly surrendered.

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