SETTING INTENTIONS: 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER X PUMA

FullSizeRender.jpg
You can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.
— Charlamagne Tha God

I START MY BLOG WITH THAT QUOTE FROM CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD. I USE TO DESPISE HIM. BUT I REALIZED THAT HE LIVES WITH A REAL PURPOSE, AND THAT INSPIRED ME. HIS BRUTAL HONESTY IS REALLY ANNOYING BUT NECESSARY. BUT ANNOYING IS GOOD FOR YOU. YOU KNOW, I THINK WE ALL HAVE THAT QUESTION AS WE GO THROUGH UPS AND DOWNS IN OUR LIVES, WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? HOW DO I FIGURE OUT MY NEXT STEP? HOW CAN I GET CENTERED AGAIN? SOMETIMES LIFE FEELS LIKE WE'RE ON A SPACESHIP HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE FIGHTING OFF AND DODGING ALL THOSE INTERGALACTIC ALIENS AND METEORITES. WHEW! SOME OF THOSE WERE CLOSE CALLS MAN. SEEMS LIKE THE BULLSHIT KEEPS COMING NEVERTHELESS.

AND I GO THROUGH IT TOO, LET ME TELL YOU. BUT AS OF LATELY I'VE BEEN WORKING ON LISTENING TO MY THOUGHTS AND WHAT EXACTLY I TELL MYSELF. I'VE HAD TO "ANNOY MYSELF" WITH VERY SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. WE'VE BEEN SO CONDITIONED TO BEHAVE AND REACT ACCORDING TO WHAT MY PLEASES OTHERS. MAYBE ITS YOUR PARENTS, OR FRIENDS, AN AUTHORITY, SOCIETY, ETC. THE REALITY IS THAT I HAVE TO STEP INTO MY TRUTH. I HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR MY OWN RHYTHM IN LIFE. AND IT ALL STARTS WITH SETTING INTENTION.

ONE THING YOGA HAS TAUGHT ME IS THAT EVEN THE SMALLEST OF INTENTIONS CAN GO A LONG WAY. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THE PHRASE, PURE INTENTIONS? THAT'S PROBABLY THE BEST WAY TO EXPLAIN HOW TO PLANT THAT TINY MUSTARD SEED IN THE MIND. WHEN I FIRST STARTED HOT YOGA, I HAD THIS INSTRUCTOR SET THE INTENTION AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS. HE WOULD ASK US WHAT IT WAS WE WANTED TO WORK ON THAT DAY. DURING A POSE, HE WOULD HELP US CONFRONT FEAR, HE WOULD HELP US DECIDE IN THE MOMENT WHETHER WE WE WOULD TRY HARDER OR BACK AWAY FROM A CHALLENGE. JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS AT MY LIMIT, I'D GO A LITTLE DEEPER INTO THE POSE, THE WHOLE TIME THINKING WTF.

ALL THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS CAN BE DERIVED FROM A TINY POINT OF INTENTION. FOR ME, YOGA HAS PLANTED A MILLION SEEDS IN A BIG FIELD THAT I WILL ONE DAY SEE TO HARVEST. YO LIFE IS REALLY A CYCLE. WHAT YOU PLANT, YOU RECEIVE AT A LATER TIME. YOGA HAS HELPED ME LEARN THAT INTENTION (OR SANKALPA) CAN BE SUBCONSCIOUS OR ON PURPOSE. BUT NEVERTHELESS, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO BE AWARE OF BOTH. HOW DO WE DO THAT?

I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT I HAVE TO LIVE OUT MY TRUTH. I HAVE TO BE THE ONE WHO TAKES ACCOUNTABILITY FOR MY OWN OUTCOMES IN LIFE. SETTING GOOD INTENTION IS BORN FROM HAVING THAT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO CULTIVATE WHAT WE WANT. BELOW ARE 5 THINGS I KEEP IN MIND WHEN I SET AN INTENTION FOR A YOGA CLASS OR JUST IN LIFE. INTENTION TAKES A BIT OF REFLECTION AND HONEST OBSERVATION OF THE SELF.

 
IMG_8464.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

PUMA EXCLUSIVE TO ASOS CROPPED MESH TOP

 

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT SETTING INTENTION

 

1. STUDY YOUR MODE OF THINKING. DO YOU TEND TO CONFRONT CHALLENGES OR SHY AWAY FROM THEM? IS IT CRITICISM THAT MOTIVATES YOUR FEARS?

MY THOUGHTS: I VERY MUCH FEAR BEING CRITIQUED. I THINK IT COMES FROM WANTING TO HAVE CONTROL OVER OUTCOMES. IT COMES FROM WHEN I WAS LITTLE, NOT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE MYSELF. SO I HAD TO TAP DANCE MY WAY THROUGH A LOT OF THINGS AND I GOT REWARDED FOR IT. BELIEVE YOU ME, I GOT ACCOLADES THAT CAME VERY EASY FOR ME, BUT DON'T MEAN MUCH IN MY HEART. BUT FAST-FORWARD TO NOW, WHEN I'M IN YOGA AND I RECEIVE CRITIQUE, I FEEL GRATEFUL FOR IT. MY FIRST YOGA INSTRUCTOR HELPED ME TO BECOME VERY COMFORTABLE IN THE STATE OF THE UNKNOWN. ANY GOOD ATHLETE KNOWS THAT IF YOU CAN'T TAKE CRITICISM, YOU CAN'T LEAD. I REALLY HAVE LEARNED TO RUN TOWARDS THINGS THAT MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE. MY MIND IS ALWAYS CURIOUS. YOU HAVE TO DEVELOP THAT CURIOSITY AND NOT WORRY ABOUT LOOKING STUPID. (THEY DON'T PAY YOUR BILLS.)

IMG_8439.JPG

2. HAVING A VISION FOR YOURSELF IS THE FIRST PART OF FINDING GRIT. DO YOU VISUALIZE THE GOAL OR JUST TALK ABOUT IT?

MY THOUGHTS: SO I BELIEVE I'VE HAD GRIT SINCE THE AGE OF ABOUT 5 OR 6. THIS IS BECAUSE I LIVED IN THE SHADOWS (YES I'M HINTING AND TIPTOEING AROUND SOME THINGS SO AS NOT TO HURT FEELINGS ON MY BLOG). BUT THE TRUTH IS, WITHOUT A DARK PAST, I REALLY DON'T THINK I WOULD HAVE THE SAME GRIT, THE SAME EMOTIONAL AGILITY.  IN YOGA, I TRY TO SEE MYSELF DO IT BEFORE I GO INTO THE POSE. BEFORE I BECAME AN INSTRUCTOR, I SAW MYSELF TEACHING AND COMPETING. I'M A PROBLEM SOLVER TO THE MAX. I WAS THE TYPE TO GET CALCULUS HOMEWORK DAY ONE AND GET IT ALL DONE BY THREE O'CLOCK. I WAS EFFICIENT. BUT THAT'S BECAUSE MY AUTO-RESPONSE TO PROBLEMS WAS TO VISUALIZE. I DIDN'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME DELAYING THE INEVITABLE OR SAYING "I CAN'T". ONE WEIRD RANDOM THING ABOUT ME IS I OFTENTIMES GET "STUCK" IN NIGHTMARES. USUALLY I HAVE TO "ESCAPE" SOME CRAZY, DANGEROUS SITUATION AND I WON'T WAKE UP UNTIL I'VE GOTTEN AWAY INTO SAFETY. MY WHOLE MIND AND BODY ARE TRAPPED BUT I'M STILL CONSCIOUS.

3. SLOW IT DOWN. DO YOU TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU? OR DO YOU GET CAUGHT UP IN DOING THINGS THAT ARE NOT OF SUBSTANCE TO YOUR LIFE?

MY THOUGHTS: IT'S A LITTLE OF BOTH FOR ME. I REFLECT A LOT! I DO IT EVERYDAY. BUT I ALSO CAN BE A LITTLE VEIN TOO. BUT THIS IS BORN FROM A PLACE OF BOTH EMPOWERMENT AND A NEED TO EXPRESS MYSELF. I SEE IT AS CONFIDENCE AND VERY BECOMING. AS ADULTS, WE DO THINGS THAT OUR INNER CHILD LONGED FOR. AND I OFTENTIMES GO A MILLION MILES AN HOUR TRYING TO OBTAIN THOSE THINGS, BUT THEN WHEN I STOP TO REST, I REALIZE JUST HOW EXHAUSTED I AM. SLOWING DOWN THOUGHT PATTERNS HELPS ME TO THINK OF NEEDS OTHER THAN MY OWN. SO WHEN I GO INTO A YOGA CLASS TO TEACH, I TRY TO PART WAYS WITH WHAT I WANT OR WHAT LOOKS GOOD. I TRY TO CONSIDER MY STUDENTS' LEVEL OF STRENGTH, INJURIES IF ANY, FLEXIBILITY, AND EXPERIENCE. I USE BREATH AS A WAY TO SLOWLY GO INTO AND OUT OF POSES. IT'S AN ART TO "STAY WITH THE BREATH" AND BE IN THE MOMENT, NOT WORRYING ABOUT WHAT'S NEXT. REFLECTION HAS BEEN SO GOOD FOR ME. IT'S ALLOWED ME TO COME INTO MY OWN, TO DEVELOP MY PERSONAL STYLE, MY WAY, AN ART TO DOING THINGS. blasé blasé IF YA WILL.

FullSizeRender.jpg

4. SETTING INTENTIONS FOR A GOAL CAN INCLUDE VARIOUS ELEMENTS. WHAT INSPIRES YOU WHEN YOU SET INTENTIONS?

MY THOUGHTS: WHEN I SET AN INTENTION FOR MY CLASS FOR INSTANCE, I START BY USING A THEME. IT CAN BE PHYSICAL OR MENTAL:

  • A PARTICULAR CHAKRA (HEART, MIND, OR THE GUT)

  • PHRASES OR AFFIRMATIONS LIKE "LETTING GO", "MY HEART IS OPEN", OR "NO FEAR"

  • HIP AND SHOULDER OPENERS

  • PRACTICING LESS SELF-JUDGEMENT

THEN I MAKE A POINT TO CONNECT POSES TO THIS THEME. I TRY TO BUILD A SEQUENCE THAT CENTERS AROUND THE INTENTION. I HAVE ALSO HEARD AND SEEN OTHERS USE QUOTES TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS. I MAY ALSO USE MEDITATION WHILE WE FOCUS AND INHALE THIS INTENTION, THEN ON THE EXHALE WE RELEASE THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_8458.JPG

5. INTENTION IN OUR INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS IS SOMETHING TO CONSIDER. PEOPLE CAN SOMETIMES CAUSE US TO CHANGE OUR BEHAVIORS IN BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE WAYS. IS INTENTION IMPORTANT FOR RELATIONSHIPS?

MY THOUGHTS: MY OPINION IS THAT INTENTION CAN BE VERY POWERFUL WHEN WE ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHER PEOPLE. SOMETIMES, WHEN I'M DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE, I HAVE TO REAAAALLY CHANGE MY ATTITUDE ABOUT MY EXPECTATIONS WITH THAT PERSON. UGH! IT'S SO HARD. OTHER TIMES, I SIMPLY DO NOT ENGAGE WITH PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN NO GOOD FOR ME. INTENTIONS FOR MYSELF ARE EASIER THAN INTENTIONS FOR OTHERS. BECAUSE REMEMBER WE HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANY ILL THOUGHTS WE MAY HAVE. SETTING INTENTIONS FOR OTHERS REQUIRES NO EGO. I HAVE MADE THE MISTAKE VERY OFTEN IN LETTING MY OWN DESIRES GET IN THE WAY. BUT OF COURSE, YOGA HAS HELPED ME TO BECOME LESS CO-DEPENDENT ON THE ACTIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE. I'VE LEARNED THAT AS AN INSTRUCTOR, I HAVE TO CONVEY PATIENCE WITH MY YOGIS. IF MY INTENTION IS TO HELP, I HAVE TO REMOVE MY DESIRE TO CHANGE A PERSON. A GOOD FRIEND ONCE HELPED ME THROUGH A HARD TIME. SHE SAID SOMETHING THAT REALLY UPDATED MY BAD VOCABULARY. SHE SAID, "JASMINE, MY WISH FOR YOU IS THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FORGIVE THEM." KEY WORDS: MY WISH FOR YOU. SHE NEVER SAID I SHOULD, COULD, OR BETTER DO THIS OR THAT. HER INTENTION WAS TO HELP, BUT TO ALSO LET ME DECIDE FOR MYSELF. IT CHANGED MY LIFE.

IMG_8438.JPG

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY FRIEND AND PHOTOGRAPHER, DANNY FRAGOSO.