Dedicate means devote to a particular task or purpose. Dedicate also means to use space, time, or money for a particular thing. I would like to extend that last definition by saying dedication is to use our breath, our energy, our consciousness, and our hearts for a particular thing.
I often feel in my own personal practice that when I dedicate a moment, or a pose, in my practice to someone, I often feel stronger and more empowered; more alive in that moment. The meaning of that moment becomes very deep and rich for me, even though I’m dedicating it outwards to someone else. This week in my classes I invited people to oscillate between dedicating their practice to someone, or place, or group of people, or ideal, and also to hold curiosity around what they are dedicated to within their lives.
“Dedication is belief transitioned into action which is transformed into change.” -Byron Pulsifer
I opened all my classes by inviting everyone to use their first couple of deep breaths, their first few moments of class to dedicate it to them Self. Dedicate it to the higher goodness of their own well-being. Even if this felt challenging for some, I invited them to put it into practice. I reminded them how there was a seed of belief within them that brought them to this practice. Whether it was a belief in themselves, or a belief in the benefits of this practice of yoga, they had chosen to dedicate this time to come to the practice.
Throughout the practice, I invited everyone to dedicate movements to someone/or group of people that they love and want to support. And as I invited that, I simultaneously invited everyone to also be observant to whatever transpired within themselves.
Their practices, and my own practice, became the action of belief in this person/or persons that inevitably was creating change. The very thought of conscious flow from one’s heart towards another creates change in the world. The very moment we choose to make a dedication to someone or something, that very action, whether it is of our consciousness, or of a physical practice, creates change.
At other times, I would invite everyone to dedicate movements and moments to ideals that they valued in their life. Ideals such as equality and justice, peace, love, harmony, connections. And again, I invited them to feel as they did that to simultaneously be aware of what their own personal experience in that moment.
Sally Kempton writes, “The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’-steady effort in the direction you want to go.”
Mary Oliver writes, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”
I invite you now, dear reader, to take a moment to feel within yourself and within your heart what is meaningful to you. Where do you want to place your attention? Where do you want to place your efforts? In what direction do you wish to go? Even if you are not sure of where you want to place your attention or efforts, even if you are not sure of what you want to dedicate your energy towards, I invite you to feel into what is meaningful and purposeful to you? Roy T. Bennett writes, “Dedicate yourself to what gives your life true meaning and purpose; Make a positive difference in someone’s life”. And see in his quote, that in order to make a positive difference in someone else’s life, it first starts with a dedication within yourself to what gives your life meaning and purpose.
As you explore the places and people in which you want to dedicate your love and energy towards, I invite you to remember to allow your own unfolding on your own path. As you put steady effort in the directions of which you wish to go, remember to just allow yourself to blossom.
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”-Zen Shin
So, this brings full circle to the first moments of all my classes this week, the moment of dedicating time and breath and focus towards yourself. A gym on Broadway, near my house, has beautiful graffiti on the front windows that say this, “You vs. You”. May you not hold yourself back, may you not judge yourself and compare yourself to the flower next to you. May you continue to follow your own path, and dedicate yourself to that which brings you joy, love, meaning, and purpose in your life. May you dedicate moments in your life where you continually meet yourself and check in with what is bringing you joy and meaning.
To end my classes in savasana, I invited a dedication to detachment. To keep detaching from all thoughts, thoughts that come in and thoughts created, and to keep detaching more and more. To imagine gravity detaching from us, not holding us down. To imagine muscles detaching their grasp on bones. And to keep floating in and in, into that vest inner space that is of peace, stillness, and silence.
And as we finished completely, coming up to sit with hands in prayer like fashion in front of our hearts, I offered one more line from Mary Oliver’s poem entitled ‘The Summer day’, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
This blog is dedicated to all of you. And is dedicated “to those who, in spite of everything, still choose goodness.”-Marie Lu
Breathe and Believe.