I set an intention before every yoga practice. An intention is a seed and an embodied yoga practice is fertile ground in which to plant it. Sometimes I’m searching for answers. Sometimes I’m wanting to practice love. Sometimes I’m looking for help. Sometimes I’m looking for clarity.
The systematic process of calming the mind by-way of the body waters the seed and usually gives me the fruit of insight. I uncover little nuggets of wisdom and understand myself a little better.
We are constantly changing and I want to know myself so I have to spend the time connecting with who I am. Throughout my life, I’ve been a roamer. Growing up in the country, I entertained myself by walking around, looking at things. I have elevated roaming around the city to an art form.
When the pandemic hit, I practiced distillation and simplification. I made my life very small. I’ve always wanted to live my life as if I’m writing a story. We all approach our lives as artists… whether we are conscious of it or not. We create our reality.
When one is sculpting their life, there are two approaches we can take: carving or assembling. Different times call for different techniques and processes. After I got real truthful with myself about what really matters to me, I was able to see what is extra and unnecessary – carving.
For over seven months, I lived a pretty austere life and that allowed me to become more clear about what I wanted – assembling. I wanted to live on my own in a great neighborhood in an apartment with a lot of natural light where I could film my yoga and cycling classes. I wanted to be closer to nature, a good grocery store, a Citibike station, and a subway stop.
While roaming outside of my apartment one day, I meandered to a great city hiking spot and on the way back home, I stopped to take a selfie in front of a bridge. Exactly one month later, I was moving into the apartment building I stopped in front of to take that photo. That detail of specifically where I happened to stop seems pretty incredible now that I look back because when I took that selfie, I wasn’t planning on moving.
My old corner apartment had the greatest views… I could lay in my room in the middle of the day and get some sun and watch the sunset every night from every window in the apartment. Now I can watch the ships sail along The Hudson every morning, watch the birds soar over the river everyday, and watch the sunset through the bridge – I even have privacy – something I learned I value during my distillation process and thought I could never achieve in New York City. I even live close to the best Tex-Mex place I’ve found in the city. I finally feel at home.
When I ask my students to set their intentions at the beginning of practice, I’m not just saying that. I am asking them to call on the wisdom and guidance of their ancestors. I’m asking them to say a prayer. I’m asking them to open themselves to their highest potential. I’m asking them to believe.
I’m a believer.