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Tension / Intention

When I teach yoga, I often start my class by offering that students ‘set an intention.’ And while I see the value in this practice, I’ve also heard from some students that they never know exactly what intention to set. So rather than this prompt being an invitation to get more present, It becomes a distraction that pulls focus away from the body and breath.


We can get so caught up in figuring out WHAT we want to focus on that we often forget the value of figuring out HOW we pay attention (or often don’t). So instead of setting an intention, what if we dig into what it means and what’s possible when we’re BEING INTENTIONAL?


Outside of my yoga practice, I’ve spent the last few weeks looking closely at where I am unclear or indecisive in my life. Or where I’m being, as my coach so lovingly said, ‘wishy-washy.’


What I discovered is that my fogginess around declaring what I need, and especially what I want,  is a way that I protect myself from the discomfort of growth and the possibility of being disappointed. It allows me to stay cozy. But it also puts a big ol’ kibosh on my goals and dreams. So I’m practicing being intentional. Intentional about all of the little things and the big things… about when and why I pick up my phone, about when I choose to drink alcohol, even about how I set boundaries around my day and my work.


And what I’m noticing is that I choose to ‘distract’ myself just at that moment when I hit against the edge of my comfort zone.


We are creatures who seek out comfort and pleasure and avoid discomfort and pain. And we have a whole ton of ways to distract or protect ourselves from feeling ‘negative’ emotions or uncomfortable physical sensations.


Yoga offers us a profound opportunity to play with being intentional in a supportive container. To sharpen our whole-hearted awareness of each moment, each thought and emotion that arises, each inhale and exhale, each physical posture. Especially when we notice tension in our legs in a standing asana or tightness in our chest when we take a deep breath in a twist. When we refine our intention and attention, we are able to look deeply at what serves us and supports us and not flee from the moment or get caught up in it.


The tension, the shaking muscles, the heat that we build in a physical practice is a tool for us to refine our awareness and build ‘courage tolerance’


This too is the power of coaching. It’s a relationship that supports intention in the face of resistance and discomfort. It holds us in the tension of the moment in honor of transformation.


When we are intentional about how we show up and who we are being in each and every moment, we strengthen our ability and willingness to sit in and be curious about our urge to turn away, give in, or fight back, when met with tension or discomfort.


Not acting on our habitual and mindless habits is a big first step in the process of transformation.


In honor of your own transformation, how do you want to BE today? and tomorrow?

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