“If you like, you can set an intention for this practice. Think of a word or phrase, something you’d like to dedicate your practice today to. Name this intention and then follow through”

I have heard this phrase or a variation of it in nearly every yoga class I have ever attended. And I love the idea of it. When in life do we really get the opportunity to pause and create a meaningful, purpose-driven plan for our impending actions? Not often,  I would venture. Our lives usually consist of whirlwind chains of events cascading one into the next, barely allowing us time to breathe and to pause.

Yoga is the opposite. Yoga is the pause. The time to breathe. The time to set an intention. I googled intention and this definition popped up: 1. a thing intended, an aim or plan. 2. the healing process of a wound. I love these two definitions together because it is how I view intentionality in my life: intention is the plan for the healing process of our wounds. 

Like many, I have struggled with negative self talk and negative thoughts. It took someone close to me, calling me out on it for it to come into my conciousness. They told me – “you would never talk so negatively about anyone! Why would you talk about yourself like that??” I had never thought of it that way. At that time, I was very self-critical and would often comment self-depricating remarks about myself. I would never talk about a close friend or someone I loved that way! Why should I talk or think about MYSELF that way? It made no sense…

So, after I became aware of the behavior, I was able to set an intention with myself. An intention to be more loving towards myself, and the intention to have the humility to forgive myself when I messed up. It went beyond setting the intention on my yoga mat, although that was a great reminder. I had to set the intention for my life. Every morning. My intention was for peace, love and happiness- nothing else would do.

I used to think that I would always have negative thoughts about myself. It was a hopeless feeling. But once I was aware of them, I could pay attention and eventually work to substantially decrease their presence. Off the mat,  I was able to set intentions for myself, and experience healing as I saw my plans for peace, love and joy unfold. My suggestion to you is to be intentional in your intentions. Set goals, aims and plans for yourself that can be achieved and that work toward your over-all desire. Set daily intentions for yourself: a word, idea, quote, saying or phrase that can be your guiding theme for the day- even when the bullshit of work and life are piling up at overwhelming degrees. If you’re like me-maybe even write it down on a post-it, put it on your desk. Here are some ideas to get you started

“It is what it is”

“Peace”

“Just Breathe”

“Nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so”

“Let it go”

“Trust your gut”

“Switch our reactions to our responses”

“Were not human doings were human beings”- Dr. John Kabat Zinn

“You are not your thoughts”

“Be grateful for what you have right now”

“So what?”