Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolution, Intention & Bhavana

Happy New Year! Like many people, I use the turn of the year as an opportunity to reflect and learn. I no longer make "resolutions", because I've found that my brain does not accept easily the restrictions associated with resolving to do or not do something; in short, I rebel against my own mind! Some years ago, I began setting "intentions" for the new year. These intentions were a softer approach to improving myself over the next 12 months, but I found them to be too soft, too vague or too unrealistic.

What I've now found is the concept of "bhavana". A bhavana is a vision that furthers one's self and others - exactly what I was trying to achieve with my resolutions and intentions, without the negative or ambiguous connotations. A bhavana has 3 elements; it is:

  1. A positive expression of what I want to happen, rather than the absence of a negative; i.e., "speaking compassionately to my kids", vs. "not yelling at my kids".
  2. Concrete and clear, without vague concepts; this was where my intentions always went wrong, because "peace on Earth" was really hard to visualize.
  3. Specific and focused on an actual image or idea; I like to use the concept of taking a snapshot of what my bhavana would look like, bringing the picture into focus and cropping it to its most relevant parts.
This year, try creating a bhavana for yourself, remembering to make it positive, concrete and specific.

Monthly Pose

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I pose)
The warrior poses are often mistaken by newcomers to yoga; how can a warrior, a symbol of war be a part of something so peaceful? The answer is that the warrior represents the fight against ignorance or misperception. We need this aspect to cut through our veils so we can see truth, and because we live in the world, we need to continue to cut through those veils constantly.

See Yoga Journal's website to learn the steps to come into the pose, as well as modification and benefits. During the winter months, it's good to focus to the downward energy of the hips, legs and feet, and let your heat build!

Schedule & Event Updates

See my website for complete schedule; below is a summary of the changes beginning January 5th.
  • Mondays: no more 4pm Yin Yoga class
  • Wednesdays: NEW 9am Hatha Flow class at Willow Glen Yoga
  • Thursdays: 7:45pm class is now a YIN YOGA class!

JANUARY WORKSHOP: Intro to Flow Workshop on Saturday, January 24th 1:30-4:00pm at Decathlon Club in Santa Clara. The perfect workshop to start or restart your dynamic yoga practice, you'll learn breath, poses and flows that are found in any flow yoga class, as well as the best ways to modify for your specific needs! $35 for members and $45 for guests (includes a day pass to the club), pre-registration required. For more information or to sign up, please contact Amy Chang at (408) 738-2582, ext. 150, or