Learning to set an Intention is vitally important in all areas of life. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your goals? Where are you trying to go? It’s all based around Intention.
If you’ve ever attended a yoga class, the instructor may ask you to set an intention for your practice that day. When I first started doing yoga and I heard the word Intention, I thought, “I just want to survive this class.” I wasn’t sure what the instructor was talking about, but I was hoping to make it through class without embarrassing myself.
After attending yoga class for a while and listening to the instructors explain more about what Intention means in yoga, I started to change my objective for class. My intention moved from survival to what I was wanting for my life in that moment. My hope would be peace for myself, or to love myself more, or for understanding in whatever was troubling me that particular day.
Setting an intention doesn’t just apply to a yoga class. It’s applicable in all areas of our lives. When you attend a meeting, you may tell yourself that you’re hoping you obtain some valuable information. When you make a meal and sit down with your family, you’re hoping they enjoy the meal and you have a nice dinner. When you go to the gym, you’ve set a goal to stay on the treadmill for 30 minutes. These are all intentions.
So how do we create intentions where they can bring more value to our lives.
- Set an intention upon waking up. When you wake up and are thinking about what you are grateful for (see How to start a gratitude practice), also think about how you want your day to go, and set an intention for your day. I want to get x, y and z done today. I want to finish the project I started yesterday. If you set the goal when you first wake up, you are more likely to accomplish it.
- Let your intention consume you. In yoga, the intention we set at the beginning of class is what we are wanting for that class, for our life, or for health and healing for another. I can walk into class feeling stressed and I set an intention to calm my mind during class. Then during class I think about only what the instructor tells me to do. Move this hand, that foot, move into this posture. I’m not thinking anymore about what was causing me stress before class. I’m in the moment, only thinking about my limbs moving in a certain way. I’m engrossed in what I’m doing but not thinking about the external stuff that’s swirling around. I let my intention of calming my mind consume me. That 60 or 90 minute yoga class is my refuge from my stress. This takes practice and isn’t always easy to do, but I love the feeling when I allow my intention to absorb fully into me.
- Meditate to create an intention. Meditation is one of the greatest ways to incorporate an intention into your life. If you take five minutes and sit, set an intention. “I’m going to sit for five minutes.” Boom. Done. Intention has been set. Or try, “My intention is to listen to my breath.” “My intention is for peace for myself and my family.” “My intention is to notice the beauty around me today.” Don’t get attached to any outcome, if the day goes to hell and it’s a bad day, don’t give up. Start again tomorrow with a fresh new intention.
- Come back to your intention throughout the day. Whatever objective you set for yourself, see if you can bring your mind back to it throughout the day. Remember what your intentions were at the start of your day and see if there is something you need to change or alter to keep that intention fully present throughout the day.
Creating intention for your life is practice, just like anything. But it can help you feel calmer and more focused during the day. It can help you live more fully and be more present in life. This doesn’t just apply to yoga or meditation; it can be incorporated in all areas of your life.
Start setting intentions for yourself, and see how your day changes for the better!