Jan 142020

An intention or Sankalpa (resolve) is a positive statement, usually beginning with “I am,” “I feel,” or “My true nature is.” This affirmation, resolve, or heartfelt desire should be short, in the present tense, positive, and feel attainable.

Below are a few examples…

I am calm
I am content
I am grateful
I am enough
I am at peace
I am innately kind and compassionate
I am present in the moment
I am at one with humanity
I am listening to my body
I feel connected to my Divine nature
I feel God’s presence
My true nature is loving

Now to explain the difference between the intention that we use in yoga and a Sankalpa that is used in Yoga Nidra or deep meditation. An intention during yoga is something you focus on when you are awake and alert during your practice. The primary benefit is that it keeps your mind from wandering so much. During Yoga Nidra, a Sankalpa is repeated three times at the beginning and the end of the practice. In this case, you are operating in a state between waking and asleep where your subconscious is active and you have access to memories from recent all the way into distant past. In this space, you have more power to transform destructive thinking patterns to ways of thinking and living that better serve your emotional and physical well-being.

Many people have been able to let go of destructive habits – such as overeating, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as uncomfortable mental states – such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia – through meditation practices. f you want to begin reaping the benefits of Yoga Nidra, you can dowload the Insight Timer app on your smartphone. There are many free Yoga Nidra scripts you can listen to for free. Establish a resolve you can work with until it feels like it is well-established in your life. At that stage, you can progress to another one.

 

Oct 022016

In June, I traveled to Big Corn Island, Nicaragua for a 200 hour Ashtanga Yoga Certification course with It’s YogaNica. I joined Ainsley, Jon, Camilla, Rachel, and Megan for the three week course, which was taught by instructors Edwin and Kelli. I wanted to be able to add yoga to my fitness teaching credentials because I want to live more mindfully and help others do so as well. Every day, I practiced and lived the life of a yogi. Learning with the amazing and gifted students in the group was amazing. All of them are such special people and I will cherish the time I spent with them for the rest of my life. I also enjoyed daily early morning swims in the ocean. I swam during the sunrise and while most of the island was still sleeping. Those swims brought me so much serenity and peace. Swimming to me is meditation and in the calm, warm sea, I swam along, admiring colorful fish and coral and the occasional manta ray or nurse shark.

Over the course of the training, I became very in-tune with myself, learned how to better discipline my mind, and learned how to master most of the poses and to teach them effectively.  I walked away with so much more than a yoga certificate.

I left feeling that I had begun a journey into understanding myself and my life’s purpose. In a different place, I began to break away from some of the samskaras or patterned thought processes that have been stealing my joy and keeping me from growing for too many years. It is very hard to break away from these patterned thoughts. I have many of these. Thoughts that I don’t fit in, I’m not successful enough, that I’m a chronic headache sufferer. I want to see myself as a swimmer, a yogi, an author, a compassionate and loving person with a sense of adventure. I want to feel content with my life wherever I am. That’s who I was during my yoga class in Nicaragua. After my return from Nicaragua, I saw myself starting to fall back into old patterns of thinking and it took some time to figure out how to break down those walls. I will share some of those thoughts in  blog posts and in my memoir, Journey to a Better Life, to be published in 2017. One of the most important I qualities that has been imperative to my learning journey is patience. Changing thought patterns is difficult. I didn’t develop them overnight – they have been running wild in my head for years -and it takes time to change them. I have found for me the best mechanisms to break negative thought patterns are daily yoga practice and travel. I can reset my mind with meditation or yoga practice and I can often reset my mind with a change of scenery as well. In three days, I will travel to Mykonos, Greece to teach yoga classes for three weeks. There will be no past to confine me and day by day I will write the future I want to live. I will go to this far away place knowing that the people in the world that love me most understand my journey and are in my heart no matter how many miles separate us.