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andiphant

Yoga Quotes & Intentions

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I really enjoy the reflective experience of yoga. The great teachings that help me be my best self and setting intentions for more improvements. Can we start a thread to share favorite quotes and intentions here?

I saw one recently on Instagram I wish I could find again but haven't had luck yet. Maybe someone here can help?

 

It was about seeing people as trees, that we each are different, unique, have certain flaws or differences but when we look at a tree that is missing a branch or is curved a certain way we understand why the tree is like that (it was hit by a storm or is crowded and reaching for light) without judging it. The point being that people are the same, and we should look at them as trees knowing that something caused them to be the way they are without judging them for being that way. 

I'm not sure if this was an actual quote or someone's personal reflection. I wish I had saved it or could find it again. 

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I was just thinking of this myself. I like the analogy of the trees.

 

One time there was a man that was having difficulties or concerns about a new direction in his life. His teacher told him "Be in your environment, whatever it is, but do not take it inside. You can keep the inside clear."

 

We all have to deal with difficult situations or people or just happen to be there when 'things' happen. And sometimes it gets to us, or gets inside of us. I have always found this little advice a very good way to help deal with this.

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I know what you mean.  Actually! During class my teacher told a similar story to the trees. I don't know if it was part of yoga or part of spiritual therapy, but she said she was going through a difficult time healing from very visible scarring on her face. She saw a woman to help her "discover what beauty means", who gave her a single rose to study in solitude. The rose had petals that were aging with dark spots, some petals that had fallen off, and some parts were wilting.  But as she rotated it around and saw all these imperfections, they slowly become interesting characteristics that showed life, and therefore the "imperfect" rose was more beautiful to her than a flawless rose. Sometimes it's the personal stories that trickle in during class that demonstrate how the teacher is also incorporating yoga into their everyday life that are most memorable and most relate-able.

 

OK, so back to your question about quotes!

 

Usually I like what teachers say at the end of class, right before "Namaste", but I can't always remember it.  Some are their own variation of chants.  A teacher I had who moved across the coast would always say at the end of practice, "I dedicate this practice so that all beings may be happy and free". I think this is a shortened version of this chant (source is here):

LOKAH SOMASTAH SUKHINO BHAVANTU 
May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

 

Other times a teacher may ask us to send the energy we created to someone who needs it at the end of class.  Both the chants above and this intention make me feel that I am not just improving myself but able to spread that energy too.  It doesn't matter if it works or not because it further motivates me to continue my practice. I am not religious, otherwise, I'm guessing this is similar to praying for other people.

yogagrammy and MrBalloonHands like this

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My go-to mantra is, "Peace and calm, inward and outward." I'm kind of an intense, Type-A person (and I'm also in a very high-stress graduate program in NYC), so I try to remember to direct peace, calm, and kindness to myself first, then allow that peace to flow outward toward those whom I interact with.

Nix, MrBalloonHands and yogagrammy like this

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One thing I like to do is to tell myself I will only observe what I'm experiencing real time, in class. Sometimes I'll pretend that I just got consciousness at the beginning of class and there's nothing else in my head that I can observe besides my body, breath, and the class experience. It's a little bit silly but the exercise really helps me to not wander to "Oh when this gets done I'll need to get dinner and then traffic and..."

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One of my favorites: 

 

A master in the art of living

makes little distinction between his work and his play,

his labor and his leisure, 

his mind and his body,

his education and his recreation,

his love and his religion. 

He hardly knows which is which.

He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does,

leaving others to decide if he is working or playing.

To him, he is always doing both.

 

I like to read that as a prelude to a more physical, athletic practice where we're focusing on something like inversions, when people often react with an immediate "I can't" instead of approaching it with a sense of playfulness and just seeing what happens. I try to encourage people to shift their perspective both on and off the mat whenever they come upon these "challenges" and try to see them as opportunities to simultaneously play and work, and just let whatever happens unfold organically.

Turi, Kelly, yogagrammy and 1 other like this

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There was a time when I was struggling with lengthening the backs of my legs - hamstrings. Below are a few ideas that I found very helpful. But this also applies to almost all poses. The hamstrings can be a very difficult muscle group to lengthen. The nervous system has automatic functions to protect muscles and keep them, all muscles, from lengthening further once they have reached their present limit.

The only place you need to be is where you are now.
Be present where you are and be comfortable there.
Only when you are comfortable where you are now will you be able to relax and move forward.

and

Find Savasana in every pose (this means there is only certain parts of the body that are active in any pose and the rest of the body should be relaxed, find Savasana)

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