This month I’m acutely aware of the importance of intentions. Not just setting an intention, but remembering it as a priority again and again - no matter what comes and what goes.
This week, I found myself standing inside of a GIANT tile store. Wandering beside me is the designer my husband and I have hired to choose tiles that compliment our personalities (me: organic, zen, cozy; he: classic, elegant, simple.) She is here to break the tie in crucial decisions. Here to co-create a bathroom design that the next owners of our house (if/when it comes time to sell) will not balk at. I am so thankful for her.
But, an hour into our appointment with tile samples beginning to crowd our cart, I get this overwhelming fatigue. There are too many options and this is taking much longer than I planned. I’m getting seriously hungry - bordering on hangry - and I tell the designer I might need to run to the cafe next door to eat. She offers me her apple, and I gratefully eat it in four bites munching on the soft, mealy fruit. But even after the apple, I feel this funk. I’m in this REAL funk. There is something the apple has not fixed. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. The designer can show me anything right now and I will just smile and nod. I want this to be over. Just get this over with.
After another 45 minutes, I finally extricate myself to my car and begin driving home. I am blasting classical music and practicing sitali pranayama to sooth my hunger pangs and calm my frustration. In the back seat, a dozen samples of tile are clanking against each other with every pothole I hit. I am struggling to figure out what the heck just happened. I’m mad at myself. I’m kinda mad at the designer. Why did everything feel so unfocused? Why did I get this panic reflex when the options started adding up? Then, it hits me.
I showed up without a clear intention.
No surprise, I got lost.
When I feel lost, I get defensive, frustrated and I want to run (“just get this over with.”)
I begin to envision an alternate morning at the tile store. One where I arrive to the store with my own apple, knowing that this appointment might take time. I see myself walking into the store with some tile colors and shapes clearly imprinted in my mind because I’ve spent the night before envisioning and dreaming about what I want. In this vision, I walk down the aisles with purpose, and the exact tiles I want greet me as I go. Yes, I’ll take that classic white honeycomb for the new floor. Yes, I’ll take that soft green sea glass for the shower niche. At the end of this vision, I see myself walking out of the store with a smile - long before lunch hunger sets in.
The vision ends and I’m left with the realization that I don’t get a redo on the tile store.
But, I do get a chance to set an intention for the rest of the afternoon.
I arrive home to my crazy terrier and I greet her with tile samples in my hands. Together, we enter my practice room and I begin to set out a pallet of blankets and bolsters. I pull out the lavender-filled eye mask that a generous student gifted me. I open Insight Timer to the guided meditation section. I type “yoga nidra” in the search bar.
Yoga nidra is a practice I have turned to for deep relaxation before falling asleep, but it has another use entirely. When I am seeking to plant an intention deeply in my subconscious, yoga nidra offers me a beautiful spade and shovel. My teachers have referred to the yoga nidra practice as a way to plant a seed and to trust that it has taken root. Once the seed is planted, I approach my activities after the practice with an altered approach. It’s as if the intention is a light that catches my eye and glimmers at intermittent moments throughout my day. The glimmer makes me pause. Each action I take is colored by that hint of light.
Back in my practice room, I find a yoga nidra NOT designated as helpful for “falling asleep” and I press play. My guide asks me to state my “resolve” for the practice and I find these words:
I will live today in gratitude and I will find my confidence.
The guide asks me to repeat these words twice more, uttering them in the present tense, in simple language:
I live today in gratitude and with confidence.
I live today in gratitude and with confidence.
My guide takes me through a yoga nidra practice. It is over before I realize it. Upon waking, I open my eyes. I turn my head to the side. My terrier has settled in the crook of my arm and the tile samples rest beside us on the floor. It’s like there’s this light in the corner of my eyes glimmering.
I rise from the earth and pick up the tiles. I walk towards the bathroom.
I got this. Thank you.
In this month’s recording, I’ll guide you through a yoga nidra practice. I hope you enjoy.
Hannah has been a student of yoga and meditation since 2003 and a practitioner of Ayurveda since 2013. She spent a decade teaching yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings throughout the metro-DC area. In August of 2019, she left full-time teaching to pursue a two-year Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She intends to combine yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda into speech therapy sessions with those struggling to share their voices. While she does not currently teach regular classes, you can study with her online through Insight Timer.