6 Powerful Intentions from Yoga Class

One of the best parts of my week is the last two minute shavasana of my 8 p.m. hot yoga class on Monday evenings.

Quite often, I don’t want to go to the class. I am tired. I’ve had a long day. I haven’t been home since 7 a.m. At this time of night, all thoughts I have are begging me to get in my car, drive home and get into my bed. I still show up for myself, change my clothes, roll out my mat and try as hard as I possibly can to get into the positions that are sometimes hard.

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Why do I do this? Sweating certainly feels good but the biggest reason I partake in Monday evening classes is the powerful message we receive from the teacher throughout class. Each week, I crave the few moments I get to sit and take in the intentions shared through class.

Yoga teachers can be extremely wise. They pass on messages that relate to your time spent on the mat in order to help you through a pose. If you are really lucky, those messages are still meaningful long after your class. I have found a class that does both – Emily (@modern.day.yoga) encourages me to push through flows and still leaves me with something to think about before bed on Wednesday night. Her messages are relevant, important, meaningful and worth sharing – so today I am going to do just that with the HIH community.

Focus on your breath

No matter what the message of the week is to get you in the headspace for your intention, Emily’s greatest tip goes back to focusing on your breath. Whether you are begging with your eyes for a pose to be over or you are trying to handle a situation at work that makes you overwhelmed, she always encourages you to take one, two or even five minutes to root yourself down through breathing. Fire breaths, super deep breaths let out with audible sighs, are highly encouraged as a replacement for swearing or frustration in class. I’ve found that even in times of anxiety or stress, I can ease a spiraling brain but taking note of my breathing or letting out a few fire breaths.

You are enough

One of the most rewarding reminders in life is that you are not alone, even when you feel like you are. Emily often brings up this concept. She reminds yogis in class that although you may feel like you are not rich enough or far enough in life compared to everyone else you are enough. Three simple little words that can make a lifetime of difference when repeated. Can’t make it into dancer’s pose? You are enough. Didn’t get the promotion you wanted? You are still enough. Feeling a little less than everyone else? You are so enough. That’s powerful.

This too shall pass

This one is simple but easy to forget when things are tough. If things are piling up and you feel like you may not get past your struggle, remind yourself that this will pass. This intention always reminds me to think about the other challenges I have faced and overcome. There is something powerful about remembering what you can do in a time where things seem frightening. Next time you are nervous about the outcome of something try to tell yourself this too shall pass and before you know it, it just might.

The meaning of fear

My favourite message was the meaning behind fear. You have two choices, fear can mean F*** EVERYTHING AND RUN or FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE. You have the power to choose which approach you’d like to use. It is also important to remember that you can be proud with either choice because you are doing what’s best for you.

Flowers

Always a believer in body positivity and encouraging people to embrace their beauty, Emily has used the metaphor of flowers to allow people to appreciate themselves. People often get caught up in the comparison game but it is important to remember that flowers, just like people, are all beautiful regardless of how different they are.

Another beautiful reminder from this class – when flowers are buried, that is right before they are about to grow.

Two wolves

Fear often finds itself at the centre of attention in Emily’s classes. One day, when I was particularly struggling with a decision about whether I wanted to make a change at work, I heard the story of the two wolves.

Essentially the moral of the story was that you live with two wolves inside of you. One of the wolves feeds off of fear and the other feeds off of courage and love. You can only feed one wolf at a time and you have the power to choose which wolf you are feeding. When you have to make a hard decision or face these wolves inside of you, which do you pick? Do you feed the wolf with fear and stay stagnant? Or do you trust in yourself and feed the wolf courage – courage to do something that scares you, courage to face everything and rise.

When I face times that are feeling tough, I often remember the wolves and make a conscious decision to feed the one with courage and with love. I do this because shifting focus from a place of fear to one where I am in control with courage makes the task at hand much easier.