Have you ever decided in the morning that you will stick to a goal, such as being patient with others, and find yourself lashing out at someone 4 hours later? Most of the time we set goals with the best of intentions, and end up getting lost in our conditioned patterns of behavior somewhere along the way. Setting your intention, or sankalpa, can be a beautiful way to start your day, create a mini-goal, or have a theme for your day. An intention, in yoga, is a phrase or word that gives you the opportunity to place your attention on something. During the middle and end of the yoga session, you might be encouraged to check in with that intention to re-center and remind yourself of the phrase or word you chose. This check-in is a beautiful way to get you back on track if you get lost in your thoughts or the ego gets involved during yoga.
You might be wondering how to use this tool during your day.
Attach the intention setting to a task you complete every day already.
For example, if you drink coffee or tea in the morning, this can be a moment for you to reflect.
Set your intention.
Close your eyes or have a soft gaze toward the ground. Turn the awareness inward to assess what it is that you really need in that moment and throughout the day. Is it peace? Strength? Patience? Gratitude? Focus on the word (patience) or phrase (I am patient). Notice any emotions or sensations that come up for you.
Think about your why.
Why is this intention important to you? How will those around you benefit? What will they see?
Check-in during the middle of your day.
Without judgement, turn the awareness inward for a moment during a break and inquire how it has been going today. Did you veer from the path of your intention? It is great that you noticed this! Each moment is an opportunity to begin again. What is one way to get back on track with your intention?
*I recommend setting an alarm, calendar note, or reminder in your planner so that you don’t forget to check-in*
Whether you are setting your intention for yoga practice or for daily life, enjoy the benefits of reflection and mindfully shifting your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors!
Kristie Powell is a therapist who specializes in yoga-informed therapy, DBT, and mindfulness. Since 2008, yoga and mindfulness have been her constant companions through life transitions, career changes, and motherhood. Through these practices, she was able to gain a deep understanding of herself and the world around her. She had more compassion, fun, and inner peace. One of the most beautiful aspects of life is that we create the meaning in our lives; which puts us in the driver’s seat and in control of our happiness.