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What's Your Return on Intention? Rodney Yee on Yoga's Rewards
People come to yoga for so many different reasons. Some people come with back problems, some come with spiritual aspirations, some hoping to relieve their stress, and some for community. Everyone who shows up has their own unique combination of desires, needs, hopes, fears, curiosities and intentions.
Yoga can answer all of these calls … But I also know there are so many other pieces to this human puzzle that fall into place when someone comes to yoga with an open, curious mind. To many, these are the hidden benefits of yoga.
Intentions are a wonderful way to get to the mat or to the classroom — but once you arrive, get ready to move with spontaneity into the unknown. Intentions give us direction, motivation, and determination, but they can also block our ability to listen and respond to what is actually occurring.
There are so many gifts being offered in the present moment … but they may not always be the ones we are actively seeking out. Sometimes it is wise to let go of our intended goals and receive the blessings at hand. The French novelist Collette wrote, “What a wonderful life I’ve had. I only wish I had realized it sooner.”
Relaxation and ease are two fundamental principles in yoga. They lead to observation and skillful action. When intention is blended with these attributes, then we have a balanced mix that will lead to joy and happiness. Buddhists believe that eternal happiness is really our deep-rooted intention and goal and that a well-proven path to sustainable happiness is through selfless service.
Even through the intention of healing a painful, unbalanced and unhealthy lower back, you might end up seeing the interrelationship between your back and other physical, emotional, philosophical, and social imbalances. Grappling with these difficulties through asana (poses or postures), pranayama (breath work), and meditation (concentration, awareness, integration), you can begin to know yourself holistically.
Any doorway that leads you to a deeper understanding of who you are is worthwhile. As you enter a doorway, keep your senses wide open and receive all the teachers and teachings that come your way. Leave the door open for the many hidden benefits of yoga.