I was walking in the woods the other day when I crossed paths with a lovely elderly lady. "Are you going somewhere? or are you walking for exercise? Would you like company?" I found myself lapsing into a silence from where I had to draw an answer. It was suddenly a very hard question to answer
Why was I walking? Was it because I have walked my whole life? because nature is my therapist? because I'm lucky enough to have this hour in the day, because I waste time in this way, because walking transforms my thoughts and orders them, walking brings harmony to the whole... because of interesting encounters along the way
"because of nature" I replied "inner & outer"
It then struck me that I was going somewhere and I was doing exercise, the reasons I walked were varied but the reason I had chosen to walk was exactly that: a choice.
This is really a roundabout way to broach the subject of intention. There is so much emphasis on presence in the teachings of yoga that the future goal can be lost sight of. So often we come to practice in order to rid ourselves of this future driven mentality and yet it is fundamental to ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. Why is this question so important? because it informs the spirit of our practice.
When we set an intention at the beginning of our practice we dedicate all the peripheral benefits of the practice to this greater goal. Then we can truly go with the flow as we know which way we are flowing. To a place of non duality. Once we have made our choice all things conspire towards it. We become active participants of our own 'dharma', our life path.
Simply through the dedication of our awareness we are choosing to wake up. Be bold in your intentions as in the words of Shantideva "This human life indeed is no time for complacency".