For me, yoga was one of the things that got me back into my body. I was a in-her-head kind of gal. Cerebral pursuits were my thing. I'd always had a strong intuition and often made decisions based on my gut but my conditioning lied in my brain. A lot of yoga, dance, and practice later, I'm happy to say that my head has been relegated to the backseat while my body drives.
Head Questions vs. Heart Questions
Prior to this change I often got myself mired in procrastination land by asking the question "how." This seemingly innocuous question would hang over my head like a dark cloud whenever I would set a goal. That's because, for me, "how?" is a in-your-head question. I guess that explains why I avoided goal-setting like the plague and perked up when I walked into a yoga class and was invited to set an intention. The idea of setting an intention seemed softer and less head-focused to me (and therefore, less intimidating). I equate setting an intention with asking heart questions as opposed to head questions: what and why?
These days I set intentions often -- sometimes for the year, sometimes every few months, sometimes multiple times throughout the day. And since I love having a physical talisman of my intentions, I fell in love with Tiny Devotions (I love that name!) malas. I love how the malas, which are made from Rudraksha seeds, feature semi-precious gemstones that represent different energetic qualities. I guess you could say that it's not your guru's mala. Instead, it's a lovely combination of tradition and modern inspiration.
For me, there's something inspiring about having a physical representation of the answers to my what and why questions. It serves to keep me on track and keep me inspired. No, I don't have a Tiny Devotions mala for my daily intentions, but I do have one to represent my yearly intention. This year I'll be wearing The Rainmaker Mala (yep, 2011 is going to be a big year for me) as a reminder of what I want to create this year.
The founder of Tiny Devotions, Diana Charabin (who is pictured here wearing one of her creations), is a fan of intention-setting as well and wanted to share her story (and a useful intention-setting exercise) with my readers. I was touched by Diana's dream of inspiring people to walk around with their intentions around their neck (and close to their hearts), so here's a wonderful guest post from Diana:
My favourite part about yoga class is the beginning when my teachers often tell me to choose my intention. I am often asked by my teachers: “why did you come to yoga today?”
My intention changes on a daily basis: sometimes I decide to let go of something, other times my goal is to be strong, or graceful or build up the energy to achieve a certain goal. An intention in yoga class can be something as simple as focussing on the breath, or it could be something as magical as dedicating your practice to someone you love.
So, if setting an intention in yoga practice is so important why do we sometimes live without intention?
I believe that setting an intention is key in the manifestation process of living your dreams.
When I started making mala beads I wanted each of my malas to assist people in setting intentions and help people achieve their dreams. Each of the malas we make has a different crystal which has a different energy.
Manifesting seems like a bit of a magical word – but in reality is quite simple.
My mom always told me that you should put your dreams and thoughts out into the universe. One of my most powerful experiences with manifesting came when I was searching for my first spiritual/yoga teacher. I was living between Canada and Australia and felt that I was ready to go further on my spiritual journey and was wondering why my teacher had not appeared to me yet.
(As the quote says, “When the student is ready the teacher will arrive”.)
In Canada on an overnight leg of a 2 day biking fundraiser I was restless and found myself going to buy a magazine to help me fall asleep. On the cover I was awe struck by the beautiful yogini on the cover – there was no name and no description but just a beautiful photo of a goddess. The pull to this cover felt magnetic.
Months went by as my search for my first “guru” continued and I found myself in Australia searching for the “right” yoga studio. After exploring nearly every yoga studio in the city I exasperatedly walked into the last one –
Not only did I find the most amazing community but I found the yogini on the cover as the owner of the studio – and of course my first guru.
This goddess ended up being Michelle Merrifield owner of Essence of Living and I ended up studying with her for the rest of my time in Australia and doing my first yoga teacher training with her.
Michelle is highly skilled at manifesting – and has actively created every single aspect of her “heaven on earth” life. She taught me the following manifestation exercise:
Before you get started with this you should have a piece of paper, be wearing comfortable clothing and a yoga mat or cushion to sit on.
Close your eyes and connect with your breath.
Feel the air going in and out of your nostrils, feel the weight of your body on the earth.
From there envision yourself in the room that you are sitting in, envision the clothes you are wearing, the space between the walls, the colour of the paint and any other furniture and fixture in the room.
Then picture yourself floating out of the room, out of the building, out of the city, out of the country, out of the planet, and out into the cosmos.
Once you are hanging out on top of the world - project yourself one year into the future to – acknowledge what the date is.
Take a mental photograph of who you want to see at this point when you look in the mirror.
What do you look like?
What are you wearing?
Who are you with?
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
How are you feeling?
What are you eating?
Once you have clearly visualized your entire life start floating back into earth, back into your country, your city, your building, and back into the room.
Once you start feeling grounded and connected back into the floor and your seat then lightly open your eyes and write down everything you saw, felt, smelled and thought for the coming year.
Use this as your guide to keep you focussed in achieving your dreams in 2011!
A Little About Diana
Diana Charabin is the founder of Tiny Devotions - a company that is dedicated to making the most beautiful mala beads in the world.
She is a world traveller, adventurer and writer who currently lives in Canada and is passionate about spirituality, design and helping people manifest their dreams.
Win Your Very Own Tiny Devotions Mala
What intention are you trying to manifest in 2011? Share you intention in the comments section (from now through February 7) and you could win your very own Tiny Devotions Mala. On February 8th I'll randomly choose one person to win a Tiny Devotions mala of his/her choice. Share your intention and you, too, could be wearing your intention around your neck.
The Simple Life
In addition to making rain this year, I've also created an intention around simplifying things in my life. I was inspired by this Tiny Devotions Lifestyle video:
Mmmmhmmmm -- good music and good living.
Here's to our intentions manifesting in even bigger and better ways than we could have ever imagined!