A Thank You Note to Yoga for “Intention”

Guys, it took almost 2 years, but Austin has finally converted me into a yogi. Okay, not like a real yogi. I don’t go every day. Honestly, I really only average like 1-2 times a week. But I’m prepared to take on the yogi identifier for a couple of reasons.

First, I have goals on my mat. Yeah goals, plural.One of them isn’t even “Don’t fall over.” I’m actually kind of okay with falling over these days. I want to be able to do crow pose. That’s one of my goals.So far I haven’t really gotten to hold it without falling over.Crow Pose

I also want to be able to consistently do wheel. The crazy thing is that I’ve done wheel. But sometimes I go to class, and I get scared and I think I can’t hold myself up and I don’t do it. It doesn’t even correlate to my physical fitness. Last week, I was honestly probably a little hungover, and I did wheel just fine. I could barely balance in the simplest of poses, but I could do a full back bend. It doesn’t really make sense.

Right there is another reason why I think I can call myself a yogi. I have come to a place of acceptance in my body, where I don’t need it to make sense. I’m a pretty linear thinker so this is a big deal. One of the reasons I’ve never been really great of staying physically fit is because I am not naturally athletic, and I don’t really like being bad at stuff. But now when I come to my mat, I’ve finally found a way to not expect anything from myself. I can let me self try and fail, because it’s not really cataloged in my mind as failure anymore. The trying to make my body do that crazy thing was the goal, not actually being able to do it. Can I please get a pause for what a big step that is? I, Amanda, have accepted a non-traditional framework of success. That’s huge for me….and I would argue huge for anyone that’s a type A personality.

I was able to get to that place because of setting my intention. It’s one of the crunchy granola things you do in yoga practice where at the beginning you set your intention for class. The instructor usually uses that moment to share a theme, give you an intention if you haven’t got one lined up. I only even have one intention and that is to do this. Do it. Not do it well. Not “today were doing crow goddamnit!” Nope. My intention is always. “self, we’re here, well done, let’s do it.” And that has made a really big difference.Taking that moment to set an intention is so huge! And finally there’s the last reason I think I’m a yogi now. That is because I have started to take my practice off my mat.

The practice of clearly identifying my intention has been, not to sound cliche but this whole post kinda is anyway, life changing. I feel like before I found some yoga studios I like, I never really bought into the whole yoga thing because I’m unapologetic-ally not a chill person. I’m just not, and I don’t feel the need to be. I get stuff done. That’s my personality. But intention is getting stuff done. It’s complete mindfulness. I’ve come to realize how often we do things without really identifying our end goal. I’ve used intention to convince myself to eat the lunch I brought instead of going out and buying something by reminding my self of the intention I set when I made it to be healthy and financially responsible.

It’s a little thing but intention has helped me use myself to hold myself accountable and to give myself some slack when I need it. Yoga is definitely not for everyone and I honestly doubt I’ll ever get to the place where it’s my central activity. But I am really happy I’ve added it to my life. There are physical health reasons for going. But that’s not really what get me out of my bed on the weekends to go, it’s the head space changes. I thought to be a yogi, you needed to mediate and drink a lot of tea and bend your body crazy ways. These days I think being a yogi is letting your practice be a part of your life, however small. I’m grateful for my practice, and if you haven’t got one I encourage you to at least give intention a shot. You can set an intention from child’s pose…heck you can set it from your couch, yoga pants encourage but not required.

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