in depth


Best Intentions

The Power of Neutral Thinking

When does your yoga practice begin? With the first posture? The first conscious breath? The centering mantra or first OM? Actually your yoga class begins with the first thought that brings you into relationship with your practice. If you know how to consciously use your intention to begin your yoga class, you will experience many long lasting benefits.

Yoga is about creating a conscious relationship with every moment. For a yogi, there are no random occurrences, no accidents, no unconscious actions or thoughts. Each breath carries the potential for union, for enlightenment, for realization of the true purpose of your being in this time and space. Every thought is an opportunity to encounter your highest Self, your divine purpose and your reason for coming into existence.

So your yoga practice does not begin with an action ­ it begins with a thought. The quality of that thought will influence and dictate the outcome of your yoga class.

If your thought is: "I am so stressed out. I need a yoga class," then your practice will be about being a stressed out person who needs help. If you show up because you guilt-tripped yourself into doing the class even though you should be doing your laundry, then your practice is about dirty clothes avoidance.

Before you get out of your car, let your mind be drawn to the yoga class. When you cross the threshold into the classroom, leave everything behind you do not want to carry forward. And when you place your mat or blanket on the floor, claim that space as your place for transformation.

When you take your place in class, set your thoughts toward the outcome of your practice. Where do you want to be at the end of relaxation? How do you want to feel when you leave class? Who do you want to become? If you cannot come into relationship with your self, then simply have the intention: "Let the highest purpose be served for the highest good." Begin your yoga practice with the thought and let your actions take you to your highest Self.

Mehtab Benton
Author, Gong Yoga: Healing and Enlightenment Through Sound and Proprietor, Yoga Yoga Studios

Recommended: Meditations on Intention and Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, Mindfulness, and Compassion (An Anchor Books Original) Proprietor, Yoga Yoga Studios


chloe commented on 20-Nov-2009 03:54 AM5 out of 5 stars

I could so see my self in the stressed out yogi... You are so right, this is why so often i feel my practice doesn't get me anywhere!

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