Yoga is an amazing physical practice. Muscles tone and stretch, core strengthens, balance maintains. While it offers very significant health benefits, yoga has the capability to go so much deeper.

A while back, I learned about the importance of setting an intention when practicing yoga. What this does is connect the what I’m doing with the why I’m doing it in a body-mind-spirit manner. I find that when I set a thought, affirmation, or prayer to my movements, I am much more present in my breath, more inspired to complete my practice.

Setting intention is a personal ritual. There is no one way to do it. Mine happens in Tadasana (mountain pose). Here I imagine my intention clothed in color, moving with my breath, and scattering in dusts of energy.

Last week my sister was in labor. The experience moved me so much and became my source of intention. I attempt to express it in this poem.

Baby’s Breath: a yoga intention

i stand on my mat, heels grounded, toes pointing toward the window facing another 11th floor apartment.

closing my eyes, i feel the day sway within me; it takes a moment to still into this mountain pose. then, mindful of the air that passes in and out of my nostrils, my breath swirls inside my mouth, throat, chest, and what has been automatic all these waking hours, is deeply appreciated.

but, my mind is stubborn. it refuses to let go. and so, i think of you.

while i stand upright, you writhe for a position of comfort. as i close my eyes to dissuade distraction, you shut yours tight to imagine away the pain. as my body prepares for a healing practice, yours squeezes and expands, shifts and tears to bring forth a physical miracle.

in this great divide of time and space, i strain to connect with you.

palms together, coming to heart’s center, fingertips facing heaven, i set my intention.

breath.

it is in the breath.

controlled and tranquil, i send it to you; it’s energy and strength traveling the north pacific ocean like a zephyr until meeting yours, timed and vital.

it is in this simple response that life within life enters our world,

when all at once we are separate & together.

{for my sister, Monica, who shared her gift with me}



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