The inner compass

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.”


“Let’s take a moment to set our intention for today’s practice.”  Is many times the first part of a yoga class. The teacher gives a moment at the start of class to set the direction or focus we want for that day’s practice: maybe a  vision for ourselves, a place one is longing to arrive at whether physically or emotionally, something or someone to dedicate class to.

Sometimes my intention for practice is clear.

Sometimes though, especially after a busy day, my mind hurries trying to figure out just the right mental construct of the    “perfect intention” for that day’s practice.

Within that moment, I sometimes find myself quickly constructing an intention, and choosing something. Sometimes it feels right. Sometimes though, I wonder if it was “just right” or if maybe I could add or edit a bit here and there.

Then class starts though, and that was that…

Today as I took the seat of the teacher, I decided to approach intention setting a bit differently.  What if we started class with letting our intention speak for itself, rather than “constructing” a perfect intention.  What if the mind took a rest, and we let the body speak.

We started out with a centering meditation, aimed at observing:    The simple act of becoming still and breathing for a while: settling into a seated pose after the busy day.  Observe and wait. With the  simple intention to listen to what our bodies had to say today.


The only rule was to listen and follow. Perceive sensation and trust the body’s lead. Do  that which the body really wanted and needed, not worrying about what they should or shouldn’t do.


Beauty happened.

Very soon, at their own pace, everyone knew exactly what they needed.

The result: a yoga room with a collage of individual poses: reclining, standing, seated postures:  with props, without props, eyes open, eyes closed.  It was amazing to see how each and every student in the class knew what they needed that day.  So inspiring to see the  the calmness and happiness in the room, when they  give themselves exactly what they wanted.


my yoga students at Yoga Garden


executing their posture of choice to start off practice

"this hanging headstand is like having candy in the middle of yoga class"                  -student at Yoga Garden

“this hanging headstand is like having candy in the middle of yoga class” -Jaci

When we continued on with the practice sequence for that day, my intention as a teacher had become crystal clear: to seek and follow true alignment.   To guide my students through safe  physical alignment, and yet also to remember true alignment has to do with the inner compass:   our bodies’ messages and intuition, easeful breath, and simple “should-free” listening.

“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”

-BKS Iyengar

(Dedicated to my wonderful students, from whom I learn every day.)


One thought on “The inner compass

  1. Paula, muy muy frecuentemente tus posts me quitan un peso de encima.

    Creo que sin saber nos echamos a cuestas cargas muy similares.

    En la práctica de meditación budista es igual, al iniciar es importante set the intention…(the worries come)… oh my gosh no puedo saltarme este paso…. cuando… en realidad…. sentarme frente a mi altar es más que suficiente….es “obvio”… la intención ya está ahí…y es verdad….si le damos libertad…el cuerpo la traduce.

    Love you, mi Paula, love the sincronicity que comparatimos. Love you, so much!


    Rosa Maria Colín de Julián

    Development and Community Relations

    T. (33) 3648-0299 ext.1005


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