I've been reading several yoga history books to increase my knowledge about the history, philosophy, language, and practice of yoga. One of the books that I am currently reading in my self-study is "The Heart of Yoga" by T.K.V. Desikachar. He is the son and primary student of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a prominent yogi credited with being a driving force behind the resurgence of Hatha Yoga. He wrote "The Heart of Yoga" as a guide for anyone wanting to develop and heighten their personal yoga practice.
In the first chapter of the book, he discusses the meaning of yoga. When translated, yoga means "to unite." The author reveals another meaning of the word yoga - "to tie the strands of the mind together."
What Desikachar is saying here is that yoga practitioners, should direct their thoughts toward the yoga session before actually practicing the physical aspect of yoga. That really is the intention of this blog that I've created: have an intention before you practice yoga. I find that when you have set a goal, a directive, or an intention before and while practicing yoga, the benefit of the physical practice is more profound.
As you prepare for a home yoga practice this week, sit for a moment and contemplate an intention. Perhaps it is something you'd like to accomplish today or something you would like for your community. The intention behind your practice can be ANYTHING. There is no limit. There is no right or wrong. Whatever you decide is the directive and goal of your practice is strictly yours and meaningful.
I want to have a joyous day.
Bring peace to my children today.
I ask for abundance today.
I want to feel relief from the physical pain in my back today.
Once you have set your intention, start your practice in Mountain Pose and proceed through 1-3 Sun Salutations. Be mindful of your breath, your body movements, and hold onto your intention throughout the entire practice. Try this for the next three days. Let us know how it felt to practice having tied the strands of your mind together.