Each time we step onto our mats, we can make positive change by inviting in an intention. You can begin planting seeds of love every time you practice yoga. On your mat, your intention rules. This means you keep practicing what you want to grow and cultivate like love, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness. I call them yoga seeds. What we give our attention to grows and thrives. For example, if you’re in balancing half moon and you fall out. You can strengthen your humility and resilience by practicing getting back up and being ok with falling. Or when you are in a forward bend and your hamstrings feel tight, instead of comparing yourself to others, you instead strengthen your gratitude muscle by thanking your body for being able to do what it can.
To help your intentions grow practice these 7 tips:
- Smile; it’s free therapy. Smiling immediately releases endorphins in your body, changing your mood and relieving stress.
- Use visualization to focus on body parts that need healing. Imagine those parts releasing tension and relaxing. When you notice yourself moving back into stress or feel increased tension, send healing thoughts and energy to specific places which know need attention.
- Talk to your body using kindness and gratitude. “I love you kidneys; I love you lower back and neck.” Affirmations go a long way. Notice when you fall back in the negative body talk, and bring back the positivity.
- Stay focused on noticing your breath. It will keep your mind calm and keep you present. As soon as you notice your thoughts drift, catch them, and bring your breath back.
- Don’t be afraid to modify. To modify simply means to make variations of the pose that give you more stability, and gently moves your body out of jamming or forcing. Modifying is using your wisdom and intuition instead of being led by your ego. Give your self permission to take a break.
- Never skip savasana. The body, mind, and your spirit needs these five minutes of stillness to absorb all the healthy work you just did for it. It’s recovery time. When we blow off savasana, we are reinforcing hurrying and rushing and our body won’t have the chance to heal. If you have to leave class early, take your savasana five minutes before you have to skip out. For every sixty minutes you practice, do five minutes of savasana.
- Remember that at the end of the class (and at the end of the day), only three things matter: It’s not about how much you did, completed, or how much was accomplished. It’s about how much you loved, how gentle you were, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.