Bodywise Intent Workshop 4th February 2007
Intent is the most fascinating and the most mysterious of the Eight Vital Principles:
- Non-doing of the Mind
- Non-doing of the Body
- Centering or awareness of the Hara
We can describe it in many ways: visualization, imagination, wish, desire, request, force, impersonal will, alignment. All of these would be true, and yet none would really represent Intent.
Most of the time our wishes are tainted and soiled by the fear that they will not be fulfilled. Fear, doubt, anxiety, fretting, hastiness are all the doings (obstacles) that spoil the cake of intent.Dona Holleman
Personally I like the wish idea. I remember clearly in my childhood wanting something so much that when I got it I really felt it came from a magical force, something more powerful than could be explained, or that I could even believe.
I chose to use the photograph taken by my friend Kathryn to advertise this workshop, because in many ways it expresses the mood and energy of intent. By raising the arms in union with the powerful energy of the earth, through the Hara, arms become light, dynamic and much more exciting than just lifting two dull arms out of the shoulders through effort. The still, almost translucent effect of Kathryn’s image represents calm simplicity, The Body of Light. If we apply the same principle to challenging Asana postures the obstacles explained by Dona above are bypassed, and freedom of expression and movement is achieved. This principle extends far further than the Yoga mat of course, we are all part of nature’s vital force. The practice of Yoga Asana, Pranayama and the Meditative state simply helps us become aware, and therefore possibly more at one with Prana than when fear and other obstacles over shadow intent.
Joint freeing sequence, letting go of expectations, playful
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 11.46
The posture is firm and soft
In the West, the first approach to Yoga is often through postures.
The Sanskrit word translated as “posture” (asana) is linked to the seated position itself, or to another posture or series of postures that lead up to it. It introduces other deeper components of Yoga, such as breath control and meditation, and prepares the body and the mind for them.
The verbal root (as) of asana is rich with meaning. It is the idea of being present in ones body - inhabiting, existing, and living in it. One acts without interruption or holds a position for a long while, maintaining it. There is also the idea of ritual.
Vigilance, or firmness, is physical stability, but, above all, presence, attention, and mental stillness. Complementary to that, softness and ease are the adaptation of posture to physical possibilities without force or excessive will. “It is attention without tension, loosening up without slackness” (T.K.V.Desikachar).
Firmness is the opposite of physical agitation, and ease is the opposite of suffering. Both firmness and softness are physical and mental. They form a whole that corresponds to the state of equilibrium, without agitation or apathy. No yoga posture is real unless these two qualities are present together - they are constituents of the posture.
Briefly, the posture is to “be firmly established in a happy space” (Gerard Blitz)
- Tadasana. Uttanasana. Virabhadrasana 2. Parsvakonasana. Trikonasana. Tadasana.
- Tadasana Uttanasana. Urdhva Hastasana BB. Parsvottnasana. Virabhadrasana 1. Utthita Padangusthasana 1
- Tadasana. Uttanasana. Urdhva Hastasana BB. Parivrtta Parvakonasana. Parivtta Trikonasana. Utthita Padangusthasana 3
Intent Paschimottanasana focus on upward arm expression out of the Hara
Ardha Chandrasana (Intent) Flowing Vinyasa
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
Urdhva Hastasana. Adhomukha Vrksasana (Intent) flowing Vinyasa
Sirsasana (Intent) Flowing Vinyasa
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana