Sometimes, a teacher will remind us to start our yoga practice by setting an intention. It could be anything: an intention to be stronger in balancing poses, to stay with the breath more or to be more mindful. When I first tried Hot Yoga, I was not used to the heat. So my intention was often simply to stay in the room until the end of class. Sometimes, right before a challenging class, my intention is just to try my best. Perhaps the poses are not available to me today. That is fine. I just want to try my best.
I find that setting an intention can serve as a reminder to what is important. It has helped me keep focus.
Some call it Goals, others call it Resolutions – but these words feel too "checklist" to me -- as though the ends is all it matters. I prefer intentions.
Intention guides the action. It conveys purpose, direction and deliberation. Intention is not about achievement or ends. Rather, it is asking yourself why you do what you need to do. There is no deadline, no failure – just working towards a purpose, a mission.
Most importantly, it states an active choice in our actions. That I, out of my own free will, chooses to practice yoga on a regular basis. I choose to be kind. I choose to let go. I choose to be vegetarian. I choose to forgive.
I choose my life.
Every time I reaffirm the power I have over my own life, the difficulties and obstacles that are part and parcel of everyday life becomes just that little bit more bearable.
What are your intentions for 2008? What are your intentions for your life?