Last winter, I had a yoga teacher who opened my eyes to the idea of trying your best to be present and purposeful. She would begin every class with a short meditation where she prompted us to tune out the world around us, release all thoughts that no longer served us, and simply be in the here and now.
Then, when we were in tune with the moment, she’d ask us to set an intention for our practice.
“What does your mind, body, and soul need at this moment?” she’d ask. “What will you strive to embody during this practice?”
After we silently set our intention, she’d say, “Consider it done.”
Every breath from that point forward would be taken with our intentions in mind. Every exhale released all worry. Every inhale filled our souls with love – love for ourselves, love for each other, and love for those we met when we stepped outside of the four walls of the classroom.
During her class, my mind wasn’t lesson planning, or folding laundry, or worrying about the wedding – it was on my mat, focused on the string of words that made up my purpose for that hour and nothing else. Never had I felt such a sense of empowerment and inner calm as I had during my Thursday night yoga sessions with this teacher.
Over the past year, developed a severe sense of worry. Between moving to a new state, planning a wedding, and navigating my first year as a teacher, I was tested in more ways than I can count. I didn’t expect it to, but it took quite the toll on my well-being by transforming me into someone that I barely recognized. But, I found release in yoga, and, slowly, I began to regain my sense of self.
For this reason, I’ve made it a goal to incorporate the habit of intention setting into my everyday life. Where I used to embrace focus, purpose, and positivity for one hour a week, I now allow myself to relish in it every day. Since I’ve started this practice, I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in my overall happiness and state of mind.
In her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, author Liz Gilbert describes an encounter she has with a medicine man in Indonesia. He tells her, “To find the balance you want . . . you must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead.”
This is how I feel about intention setting. When I am full of worry, my mind is carrying me away from the earth. Like the saying goes, my head is “in the clouds,” instead of in the here and now. However, when I set an intention or goal for the day, it is crafted based on the needs of my heart and soul. I constantly remind myself of my heart’s needs that day, which roots me to the ground, thereby allowing me to find more value in the day. In short, instead of allowing my ego to drive my life, I am choosing to relinquish more power unto my intuition.
Intention setting has brought more focus and calm to my life, and that has made all the difference.
Why do you set daily intentions or goals? If you’re new to the idea, what do you think?