A New Yogi’s Take on Intentions

I recently picked up yoga as a form of exercise due to a knee injury, which is slowly cutting off my ability to run. Anyway, I’m starting to learn yoga is much different from any form of physical activity I have done in the past. It is surely more connected to a form of “emotional exercise” so to speak.

Over the past few years, especially after my father’s passing, I have grown in emotional intelligence areas. Being that I listen to myself and I feel more at ease. However, life has taught me there is constant room for improvement.

I found myself in the front row of a Hatha Star class (welcome to beginners like me). Our teacher, Sarah, was reading quotes throughout practice. In the beginning of most yoga classes, they invite you to set an intention. Mine are generally – calmness, strength, a mantra: don’t forget to breathe, or contentment.

In this class today, I set my intention as contentment. The teacher began with a quote which led into a Buddhist term called “Santosha” the origin being Sanskrit (the ancient language of India – if you’re unfamiliar) – the word derives from a meaning of contentment. My eyes peeled open ever so slightly as I peered out at her. Weird, I thought. So she continued…

“…this is one of the key components to success on the path to self-realization. It’s about accepting ourselves as just who we are and coming to peace with that. Acceptance of what our bodies have to offer, it’s limitations, and so on. It’s encompassing that what we have is enough – a sense of satisfaction with our lives”

Hm, contentment. This has been a concept that has muddled around in my stream of consciousness lately. What is it to feel content? Will one ever reach that state or is it a figment of one’s imagination?

An excerpt from my journal entry last week:

“Contentment – this was the intention I set during meditation the other day. Do people ever actually reach this point in their lives? – I feel as though this is a spectrum. All depending on the person’s expectations revolving their personal goals in life. For a perfectionist, this seems like a forever unattainable state of mind. Since leaving Los Angeles I am definitely a lot less anxious. That place was very anxiety provoking in my opinion. I hope yoga can continue to provide me with some sort of peace of mind.”

It’s a striking term to me, really. Maybe it’s all relative to the individual. What I noticed is that yoga is bringing me closer to that idea of contentment in relation to myself. I am treating my body, thoughts, emotions with tenderness. I am now coming from an understanding viewpoint rather than a critical, harsh stance.

I am allowing myself to be me. Acceptance. Santosha. Letting go of irrational fears. Making friends with peace. Deeper fulfillment in my life and my daily. Connecting more with my senses. A sensory overload, if you will, but in a more relaxed space.

So, what I am suggesting here is to start listening to yourself. Take you more seriously in a lighter way perhaps. Stop what you’re doing right now. Silence the clutter and really hear what you have to offer. You may just find out that it is more profound than anything else.

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