The word intention means something one plans to do or achieve. Making a commitment to practice for 28 consecutive days falls well within this definition. The word intention though, can also mean to have a particular aim or purpose. It is this latter definition that we are going to focus on here. Below are 8 suggestions for bringing more clarity or purposeful meaning to your commitment.
Settle your energy. Before contemplating your intention, we encourage you to first establish conditions within your self that are conducive for reflection. Doing a brief breath or meditation practice can be helpful. Alternatively you could plan to reflect after a favorite yoga class. Time spent in nature also can be a great way to turn inward.
Set the stage. Just as you’re being intentional with your commitment, be intentional about your setting for reflection. What setting would be most conducive to you for tapping into a meaningful intention? Your favorite chair with a lit candle nearby? A neighborhood tea shop? At the top of a mountain? Does it need to be quiet? Would you like to integrate music? Would smudging the space help set the right tone.
Consider the type of intention you’d like to create. Once your energy has settled and you’ve chosen your space, ask yourself, why am I making this commitment? There is no right or wrong answer, it need not sound lofty, it’s about what feels right for you. Different types of intentions include: physical (e.g., to work on or up to a particular pose, make your breath the focus of your practice each day); style (perhaps take classes from a variety of teachers, explore styles of yoga you are less familiar with); attitude (i.e., I will treat myself with kindness, I will find humor in every day life); and yogic concept (e.g., surrendering, non-attachment, truthfulness, or inner teacher). Journaling may be a helpful tool in this process.
Sit with your intention. Once you’ve chosen your intention, try sitting with it. This could literally mean sitting in meditation with a focus on your intention. It could also simply involve letting it percolate in your awareness for a period of time. However you choose to let it sit, check in with yourself. Try it on for size. How does it feel? Do you feel inspired when you think about it? Encouraged? Does it need to be modified? Take some time to revisit or refine your intention until it sits well.
Choose strategies for holding your intention in awareness. One of the most challenging aspects of practicing with intention is in remembering them. We invite you make a plan ahead of time for keeping your intention in awareness. Possible strategies include posting your intention in a prominent spot, creating a daily ritual, setting alerts on your devices and/or keeping a daily journal. Take some time to brainstorm strategies you think will best support your intention’s presence over the course of your entire commitment.
Schedule check-in’s. A very powerful way to further seed an intention into practice can be scheduled check-in’s. The frequency is up to you -a single mid-month check-in might feel best for some while weekly check-in’s will be how others prefer to go. These check-in’s create opportunities to notice shifts and insights, ways you may want to adjust your practice moving forward as well as simply bringing your intention back into awareness if it had slipped out.
To share or not to share. The act of sharing one’s intention with others can have numerous benefits. For some it creates an additional measure of accountability. It can also help cultivate support for times when one’s practice or intention is feeling difficult. Sharing personal intentions is not right for everyone or every intention though. Sometimes it could mean too much vulnerability. Sometimes we simply like to be on our own journey. Wherever you land in the spectrum of sharing or not sharing, we ask you to consider making that decision a conscious decision.
Recognize your efforts. Finally, we encourage you to honor your particular purpose in your commitment. How might you celebrate making this more nuanced commitment at the end of February? A massage? A walk in your favorite park? Coffee date with a close friend? Celebrations needn’t be fancy or cost money . The idea is to call attention to the journeys we take and the intentions we set strengthen our capacity to be intentional moving forward.
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Posted by: 8 Limbs Staff