Have you had times in your life where you've deeply mourned the end of something or come to the end of a relationship and thought, THAT was a big chunk of my life wasted!?
I have. But I've also discovered that while not everything has an obvious purpose or meaning, quite often things that I've struggled with at the time have been entry points to opportunities - whether it's jobs or meeting new people or going to new places - that I wouldn't otherwise have known.
I am facing the end of a class that I have adored taking for over four years now and while it makes me very sad to think of it ending, I also remind myself that I've loved it for four years. My teaching style has evolved and I've watched my regular participants get stronger, more flexible, walk taller. I have gone into every class wanting to be there and delivering. I have sown the seeds to be able to move into something else and know that the experience I've had has prepared me for what's next.
I've been excited about the prospect of what else I could do. I'm curious and passionate about so many things. I will always teach - in some way, in some place - but I also want to write, to design, to collaborate creatively and to share my excitement for colour, texture and the incredible universe of beauty and fashion. I've also always been a media junkie. I could edit and write about music, beauty, fashion and design 24 hours, 7 days a week.
These are all things I'm exploring.
I digress though. I wanted to introduce you to a concept in yoga called Sankalpa. In the same few days, I was listening to two podcasts discussing this and both were very different. One was a Hindu yoga practitioner and the other was Jillian Michaels. Essentially, both had the same message though. The actions we take, with the intentions we have, are much more valuable and important than the outcome of whatever those actions are. If you put all your energy and your passion and your focus into your yoga class today - does it matter that you get to the end and you can't get your leg over your shoulder and do a perfect peak pose? For every minute, you felt fully present and every muscle and every thought and breath mattered to you. That has to be enough. Then, because you have applied yourself so intensely and devotedly this time, maybe next class or the class in two weeks' time, you will find yourself in a pose you hadn't even imagined your body would manage.
Sankalpa translated means resolution, or resolve. It is setting an intention to give your mind a clear direction and focus. It is less about the actual result, than the intention behind it.
Swami Satyananda, in his book Yoga Nidra, says 'The resolve you make at the beginning of the practice is like sowing a seed, and the resolve at the end is like irrigating it’.
I have gone into every one of my classes with the full intention of informing on safe and effective methods of being stronger and more flexible. With the full intention of inspiring greater body awareness and appreciation for muscles and movement. I have had the full intention of making the environment one of inclusion, and a joyful and challenging space.
I don't regret that for a moment and I believe that I have sown the seeds in every minute and every hour of teaching that particular class time that have made whatever comes next possible.
Bahia Yoga gives a nice, easy guide to 5 Tips On Choosing A Sankalpa.
If you're up for a bit of homework, have a think right now about a time when you challenge yourself - whether it's personal or professional - and set an intention that you can return to.
Maybe it is to attempt a pose or a technique that you have been afraid of. Maybe it is to be kinder and more patient. Maybe it is to reject the voice that says you aren't good enough or accomplished enough. Maybe it's to sit with uncertainty about your future and your life and to see that as fascinating and a world of opportunity rather than something to be feared. Maybe it is to face something more confronting and scary like an addiction or a habit that you are struggling with and to stop. Keep coming back to your intention until it comes to fruition. Then make another.
You can find Satyananda Yoga in Ballarat and Melbourne
Listen to The Jillian Michaels Show on iTunes