Living Intentionally

Happy January! I hope your new year is off to a great start! One thing we’ve been focusing on in my classes is the power of intention: setting intentions for our asana practices as well as setting intentions for our day-to-day living. Sometimes the two dovetail and sometimes they don’t, but nevertheless setting an intention can offer clear guidance to our actions, thoughts, and words. Richard Miller wrote that intentions ”…are powerful internal agreements that you make with yourself and then express through your actions, whether it’s in your relationships, work or on your yoga mat or meditation cushion.”

An intention need not be big or life changing. It can be as simple as staying connected to your breath. The main thing is that it should mean something to you. Your intention should ideally be a quality or a practice you want to align yourself with or that aligns with your values - like setting an intention for peace, kindness, to have compassion for myself and others, to listen without judgement.

A few simple ways to start creating and connecting with your intention for your practice or for your life are:

  • Meditating or journaling. Here are a few prompts to get you started.


    • Why do you practice yoga asana?
    • How do you want to feel at the end of your practice?
    • What do you need from this practice today/what’s your deepest desire from your time on your mat?
    • How do you want to feel TODAY?
    • What words or phrases do you want to align yourself with in terms of your life TODAY?
  • From there you can distill it down to a word or two, or even a short phrase.

To stay connected to your intention, write it down or say it aloud 3 times. You can even take a few minutes in meditation and use it as a mantra – as you breathe you silently say the word(s) or phrase to yourself.

If you are practicing asana, you could find moments to pause and reconnect with your mantra in a particular pose.
As you arrive in the pose you would breathe the mantra of your intention in and out.You could even weave it into a phrase of movements that you repeat – like cat and cow poses - silently repeating the mantra as you moved and breathed.

Likewise, in your day-to-day life you could set cues that remind you to reconnect with your intention. One thing you could do is to set an alarm on your phone or computer to chime every hour and use that as a reminder to reconnect with your intention – breathing it in and out. Or, you could make a point to reconnect with it every time you heard the chime of a notification on your phone. Maybe there’s something else that you do regularly every day that you could use to remind yourself to breathe your intention in and out.

So here’s to practicing and living more intentionally! Please share your intentions and your experience with working with them on our Facebook page!

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