What's Your Intention?

It’s hard to believe that January is almost over. The new year is always a good time to pause and reflect on how you are doing life: is it in line with what you need, want, and value?

For the past few years I’ve been picking a word to use as a guiding light for the year, and as I make choices, both professionally and personally throughout the year, I check in to see if those choices not only align with my values, but also with my word. Are the choices in support of the direction I want to ultimately go this year? This helps me to create and live my life more intentionally.

So often in yoga classes we are invited to set an intention for ourselves for the practice, but why should we stop there? Just as intentions to stay aware of the breath, or to move slowly and feel the transitions from pose to pose, or even to be kind and not push can shape the way we do and experience our yoga asana practice, so can they influence the way we do and experience our day-to-day life. Setting an intention for your day or even your year can help you become more aware of the choices you are making and the impact they have on you and those around you. They can deepen your experience of each moment and help you to stay more present.

When I think about intentions, I envision them as banks of a river, helping to steer us in the direction we want to go - they give us focus. When we create intentions from our hearts, they can reflect so much more our values. And as we begin to use them as guideposts, it becomes less about attaining anything and more about being guided by something deep and meaningful.

Two descriptions that have been resonating with me about intentions are:

An intention is something you want to align with in your life.” from Melissa Eisler.

They 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.” from Richard Miller.

So where do you start with all of this? One simple way is to find 15 minutes one day this week where you can sit quietly with yourself.

  • Turn off your phone, and let your family or roommates know that you need 15 minutes of quiet. And if you need to, set your alarm for 15 minutes so you don’t have to worry about time.
  • Take a few conscious breaths, so you can feel and connect with your breath.
  • Then ask yourself, “What word or phrase do I want to align with this year?"
  • Write down whatever words or phrases come to mind.
  • Go back and read them all and circle the ones that resonate the most.
  • If you can, distill it down to one or two words. Or if need be, leave the list and come back to it the next day and see what one or two words really resonate.
  • Once you have the word(s), say it to yourself 3 times. Write it down somewhere that you’ll see it daily – you could even make it wallpaper on your phone or computer.
  • Each morning as you start your day, remind yourself of your word. I will live today with _______________.
  • As you make choices, especially over the next few weeks check in to see if the choices align with your word(s). If they do, great. And if they don’t, pause to see why you are making the choice, so at least you know the reason and can move forward or not with awareness.

Finally, if you are willing to share your word on our Facebook page that would be great! Sharing your projects and making yourself accountable can have a really deep impact on following through!

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