Being intentional requires paying attention.
This means paying attention to intuition, emotions, prana/energy, and all of these aspects come from within. Focusing on our external environment only keeps us living from a reactive perspective, always on the defense, and does not let us connect our true nature to life’s journey. Therefore, living intentionally has as its foundation to live authentically, to be able to tune in to our true self so as to understand where and how we align with the outside world, and therefore to better understand our direction in life. From a yogic perspective, we use the following tools to tune in: Meditation, breath work and yoga asana.
Meditation allows us to observe our thoughts without judgment and to reel in our wandering mind as an exercise. With a meditation practice we build focus, self-awareness, and compassion. We can understand ourselves better so that we steer away from stress and anxiety to becoming better listeners, less judgmental, and more open and kind individuals.
Paying attention to breath allows us to recognize where we habitually hold tension and what that tension might be connected to. Focusing on the quality of our breath during yoga asana shows us what we are arriving with to our practice, both emotionally and physically. Perhaps then we can begin to understand how to let go of things that do not serve us. Paying attention to when we hold our breath helps us to break the habits that are connected to stress and anxiety.
Yoga asana is designed to help us learn about ourselves as we learn how to tune in to the unique structure and alignment of our bodies, the action within the alignment of asana practice, and how our body opens up with specific postures, preparations, and transitions of movement between postures. We typically focus on the physical body and then learn over time, with practice, to tune into the energetic and then perhaps the subtle body, as we begin to understand ourselves better.
When we pay attention to what goes on within, we are more perceptive to what goes on around us and can improve how we are able to evolve personally so that we play an effective and proactive role in helping our world community evolve as well. In order to affect positive change in our world, we must pay attention to all the signs and messages, from deep within ourselves to the far reaches of the universe. There is joy in learning this interconnectedness. Paying attention is the key to learning. Be willing to look with the eyes of a beginner, every day you step onto your yoga mat, so that you might learn something new about yourself, and then take that lesson with you into your daily life!
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