One of the beauties of a Yoga practise is the attention we bring to our postures, our breath, our inner selves. By bringing attention to our minds and bodies, we can block out the noise of the world and simply be.
But I think ‘intention’ is something slightly different. When we bring intention to our practise, it can bring a deeper meaning to our Yoga.
The word intention signifies that you are intending to do something, to be somewhere, to bring a higher awareness of ourselves in whatever activity we are engaged in.
As usual, I think this idea can be translated from Yoga into our everyday lives.
When we switch off our Smartphones or, better still, put them away in a drawer, in order to spend time with a friend or family member, we are sending a very clear signal that we intend to enjoy that person’s company fully and without distraction.
When we set aside a specified time in which to care for ourselves – be it a Yoga practise, going for a run, or simply sitting in the garden and reading a book – we are signalling our intention that we are worth the time spent on ourselves.
Bringing this idea back to our Yoga practise, I often utilise the word intention when moving in and out of our basic, everyday poses. This is because we can often begin to perform movements on auto-pilot, not really taking in the benefits they bring. How many times have you driven somewhere and not really noticed anything along the journey?
This week’s post then is a part of my regular practise: Cat and Cow Pose. I always use this pose as part of a class, as well as in my own personal practise, as it is a simple way to warm up the spine. But it is easy to simply move back and forwards without really taking notice of what we are doing. So this week, try to slow everything down and give your full attention to the pose.
The Pose: Come to hands and knees, have the hands around shoulder width apart and directly below the shoulders. The knees should be about hip-width apart and directly below the hips. Spread the fingers wide and flat on the floor, evenly spaced. On an inhale, allow the back to dip slightly, allowing the chin to lift and the eyes to begin to look up toward the sky. When the lungs are full, hold for a second, before exhaling through the nose, and reversing the action. So the chin begins to move back down toward the chest, the eyes trace an imaginary line along the floor and through the knees, and the back arches up like an angry cat. Again, hold the breath for one second once expelled, then start again with the inhale. Repeat this several times, pushing back into child’s pose to rest afterwards.
As you perform the movement, bring your full focus and awareness to your breath and your very slight movements.
As ever, try to take your Yoga outside of the mat by performing everyday tasks with more intention.
Until next time,