Over 30 years of practicing and teaching I have had several teachers guiding me on my journey. Some of them face to face, others through their writing or recordings. A few have had a major impact on me through their guidance both on and off the mat, and I am forever grateful for how they led me on a journey of curiosity and exploration, patience and humility.
In my role as a teacher they have also helped me with language. Sometimes their words help me find a way to describe my own experiences on the mat, which I then can use to help guide others. It is not easy to put English, or Swedish words for that matter, onto the internal subtle experiences of the practice. And yet it's important to find a way to encourage others. To be able to hint at the indescribable experiences of yoga, without defining them so that we go searching for someone else's experience, not our own. A task that I still find challenging and interesting. My teachers also helped me to form my own language throughout the years, simply by leaving enough room and space for me to have my own journey.
Just this morning I realized that there is a word I haven't used much in my teachings, but that beautifully and simply describes how I slowly but surely started to live life in my 20's. I chose to live my life deliberately. I still choose to live my life this way, as the dictionary defines it, consciously and intentionally. To me this entails making choices. Lots of them. Each and every day. Some of these choices are major lifechanging ones, and some are smaller, everyday choices. But they are all choices. The opposite of letting life happen to me the way the society dictates it, but rather in a way that my heart can blossom and soar. So that love and compassion can grow and my days are filled with meaning.
I know that for some of you, this past year has opened new doors. That you have woken up to see that there is a different way of living, that there are choices that you actually can make, even though before they didn't look like choices to you. Your mind did not see it that way. To me, this is waking up to the possibility of living a more deliberate life.
If you are already there, I urge you to continue asking yourself how you want to live each and every day, within the boundaries of what you can change, and what you can't. And if you are not there yet, perhaps your question today can be: how do I want to live this day? Can you break free from your own habitual, conditioned way of thinking? How do you choose to go about your chores, your work and interactions with others? It does mean that you have to pause for a few moments, to open up to what is here, right in front of you, right now. Remembering that yoga is after all about the "how". How do you want to live this precious day?
"Intentional living is the art of making our own choices
before others' choices make us."