I am very much looking forward to the 108 Sun Salutation Workshop this weekend at Taj Yoga from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
As I mentioned in the workshop description, your intention is far more important than the sheer number of salutations you complete. You will no doubt hit physical and emotional walls and I encourage you to modify and rest whenever necessary. Let us follow the first tenant of yoga, ahimsa, non-violence. Because the intention is so important, I thought I'd share a bit more about how to go about creating or setting an intention. Even if you are not participating in the workshop, this information sheds light on the subject and applies to intentions set in regular classes as well as special events such as a yoga mala.
Your intention can address whatever you are feeling in the moment, the moment we begin our journey toward 108. For example, the other day, after sitting and welcoming what was present for my practice I decided my intention would be, "I am patient and gentle (with myself)." Your intention can be that specific and relate to the particular practice at hand or it can be more overarching and general. For example, "I am love" or "I am love itself." I like to use present tense language that expresses intention as an already occurring phenomenon. As my teacher states, in this way, "We don't hold our wishes for the future, but express them as truth." Overall, an intention is a short and positive statement or affirmation about something you are whole-heartedly dedicated to manifesting, living and be-ing. It can even be one word. You might show up Saturday with this intention already determined.
Your intention can also be in the form of a dedication. Perhaps there is someone or something in your life that would benefit from the energy and awareness your practice will cultivate?
Lastly, your intention may involve the 'healing' or 'transforming' of a particular relationship you have with someone else. In my experience, in these types of situations, it has been best to focus on my own personal healing around the relationship. This is the only piece of the puzzle that I have even the slightest bit of control over anyway. The intention could be an inquiry into how this might best be done? Or, if you know what needs to be done, if anything, your intention could center around to be-ing the strength/compassion/forgiveness/etc. to honor your heart's desire?
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states "You are what your deep driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will, so is your deed. As your deed, so is your destiny." The trick with all intentions is not to be attached to the outcome. Often times things 'heal' or manifest in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. I choose to trust, however, that through the tapas (fire, heat or intensity) of committed and regular practice, transformation occurs in subtle and obvious ways. We label these results as pleasant and unpleasant, good and bad and therein lies the root of suffering.
We will certainly generate a large amount of tapas through the practice of 108 Sun Salutations. I think perhaps my intention will to become aware of what comes from the ash of the fire......
If you are moved to bring a small token, photography or clipping to place in front of your mat as a symbol or reminder of your intention, please do =)
Please let me know if you have any questions.