At the beginning of a yoga class, there is the opportunity to set an intention for your yoga practice. For years, I collected my hands at my heart center, closed my eyes softly, and prayed for the manifestation of what I felt I needed to bring forth into my life. And in some form or another, with faith and perseverance, I would receive what it was that I needed in my life in order to grow (whether I liked it or not). Unbeknownst to me, I was practicing the radical act of self-devotion; asking the Universe to bestow upon me what I desired with conviction and clarity. Again, I was seeking to receive something.
As I continue to witness my own evolution unfold on and off my yoga mat, I also note that my relationship with yoga is continuously unfolding as well. I have recently come to realize that just like for any other relationship to be deeply meaningful and prosperous, the act of reciprocity is essential; it is imperative to sustain a healthy balance between acts of selfishness and selflessness. My perspective powerfully shifted when I began viewing the practice of yoga as not only a radical act of self-devotion but also the radical act of devotion to something greater than myself.
Once again, my intentions have shifted because I have. With my gaze turning inward and my hands resting at my heart center, I now ask myself, “What can I offer away in this experience – what can I contribute?” Similar to a cup being filled, it must empty out periodically in order to be refilled once more. Whether you have just begun your yoga journey, or have been riding the wave for years, it is true that what you do on your mat changes you -- If you pay attention, you'll note that yoga inevitably shifts from an individual practice to a practice that contributes to the collective by the cultivation of self-consciousness. So, I invite your ask yourself, "What am I willing to offer away?"