I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time, and as I sat down to write this blog, I got stumped. Interestingly, I’ve been working consistently with the practice of intention setting for years – it’s part of my daily practice. I sit down to write about it and <blank>.
When I get stumped, I seek clarity. So I decided to look up the word intention in the dictionary to get us started J
Intention (according to dictionary.com):
· An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result
· Purpose or attitude towards the effect of one’s actions
· The act or fact of intending
· Logic – the reference to concrete things, their properties, classes, or the relationship among them
· A manner or process of healing
· Meaning or significance
I get asked a lot “what do you mean by intention?” I love how the dictionary definition incorporates so many aspects of the yoga practice – mental determinations, action, purpose, results, logic, healing, and meaning.
My favorite description of intention comes from Joy Kristin. She is a yoga nidra teacher and she describes intention as “a deep desire for growth and fulfillment” – I simply love this simple and elegant explanation.
Yoga is a practice of refining the mind and how it works. The mind is a very powerful tool, and our thoughts (which flow through the channels of the mind) are equally powerful. Setting your intention is the practice of aligning our thoughts with our heart’s deep desires for growth and fulfillment. This is a powerful and meaningful alignment. My understanding is that the formula for aligning the mind and heart looks like this:
ATTENTION + INTENTION = MANIFESTATION
Basically, what you focus on with your mind (attention) along with the felt desires of your heart (intention) is what you bring into your life (manifestation).
In my experience, there are some key things to remember when setting your intention:
1. Your intention is all about YOU – you are the only person that you get to choose for, take action on behalf of, and effect change in. Make your intentions deeply personal.
2. – Keep it SIMPLE – even choosing one or two words, as long as there is strong resonance with your heart, works beautifully.
3. – Remember to FEEL – intention setting is not meant to be an intellectual exercise, but a felt sense of the growth and fulfillment that comes with aligning with our purpose. We’ll know the intention resonates with our heart because it FEELS right 🙂
4. – Choose positive language – the words we use are important; they represent our thoughts (which we previously stated are very powerful). Choosing positive language is important to keep the conscious, unconscious and sub-conscious minds very clear on what you are asking for. An example is to choose “Courage” instead of “Not Afraid”.
5. – Present tense – the only time we have is the present, and so we need to place these desires in this present moment if they are ever going to manifest in our NOW. Instead of wishing for something to happen in the future (which is never now), think about how it would look, feel, smell and sound like if it were happening right NOW.
I have set intentions day to day (or practice to practice). For the past few years I have chosen one intention to work with the whole time – so when it’s time to set my intention I already know what I want to work on.
Once we know where we want to go, which version of our “self” we want to become, then our actions and choices change – this is the power of intention and clarity.
I invite you to take these ideas and formulate an intention for yourself. What is your heart’s desire? How do you want to grow? What would bring you a sense of fulfillment and purpose? What would that look like? How would it feel?
Enjoy the practice, and best wishes for 2017 – may you get everything your heart desires!