Why do you do what you do? How often do you go about your day, forgetting what came only a few hours earlier? Do you make choices that serve you daily or do you blaze through your schedule? Do you set goals for yourself, and watch them slip away from the couch?
Choose your why. Choose your how.
Let’s talk about intentions.
Most yoga classes will guide you to set an intention for your practice. A yoga teacher may refer to this as a Sankalpa (San=born from the heart + kalpa=that unfolds over time). Intentions are commitments you make to yourself to bring mindful attention and concentration to something you would like to cultivate in your life that will promote your overall sense of well-being.
We all have patterns that govern our current lifestyle. If you don’t pay attention to those patterns you will be less likely to change the ones that no longer serve you.
When the pandemic first came....
...our lives rapidly came to a halt. I was alarmed at how burned out I was. My schedule was overbooked and my mind was overactive. I was simply exhausted. With fewer obligations, I was able to deepen my personal yoga practice. I set an intention to listen to my body and attune to energy management. I set this intention not only on my yoga mat, but in my daily life.
Intentions are so important
If we don’t bring mindful attention to a particular aspect, we will continue acting in the same patterns. If you want to change something in your life, you need to first bring that change into awareness. Choose it deliberately so you can act on it intentionally.
I began by stating to myself – I choose to listen to my body and honor the energy I have today. I choose practices that support how I feel in this moment. At first this was challenging. I found myself wanting to schedule ahead what I would do each day. Each day, I came back to my intention. Little by little I noticed my automatic patterns, that led to my overbooked schedule and not enough time to restore, began to shift.
By committing to your intention, you commit to yourself.
When you carry out your intention, you show yourself that you matter. The key is to make your intention small enough that you can achieve it and in the direction that supports your path of well-being. Intentions can be short term or long term.
They can be specified for a yoga practice, for your day, week, month, etc. Intentions help us to cultivate persistence and motivation as well as remind us to be patient with ourselves. Change and transformation take time.
Finding your intention
Think and reflect. Invite your authentic self to sit with the questions: What would I like to shift in my life? What would I like to cultivate? Is what I choose supporting my well-being?
When you think about what your intention is – state it as a commitment, vow or agreement with yourself. State your intention in the present tense, as if it is already happening.
Some examples might be:
I take yoga twice a week.
I eat for health and energy.
I set boundaries that serve me.
I listen to the sensations in my body.
I speak and act from love and kindness.
I respect myself.
Imagine what your life would be like if you actively lived out your intention. Imagine how it would feel to experience this self-acknowledgement. Visualize it. I invite you to practice intention setting this week.
If you’d like to practice this with the group, register here for one of the groups or classes this week!
Dana Saad, LCSW, RYT 200
Key Therapy Counseling
Twice a week I offer a 90-minute online yoga class called "Yoga for Mind Body Wellness". Would love to have you join me.
About the Author
Dana Saad is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition to conducting private individual counseling at Key Therapy Counseling, she also holds weekly yoga classes (see list of classes here). She completed her yoga training at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and has pursued additional training in Trauma-Informed Yoga (through Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga) and Yoga Nidra (through the iRest Institute). Her Trauma-Informed Yoga classes incorporate a mindful approach to trauma processing, deep relaxation, and mind/body balancing intended to treat current symptoms related to an overactive nervous system.