If you are one of those people who take yoga regularly, or even if you’re just starting out, you may have heard of something called an intention. Many instructors will suggest that a student sent one for that day’s practice. Sometimes, it might merely be to focus on the breath to keep your concentration or to feel how you move differently in and out of postures. It might be facing the thing that crops up out of nowhere without running from it or burying it again–it’s okay to be scared.
I’m here to say that intentions are not confined to yoga. They can be made in any discipline, be it physical fitness or a day job. All it takes is a little know-how and some positive thinking to get you going.
But what are they, you may ask? The simplest way I can think of to describe an intention is that it’s a focal point, a goal. It is not a concrete, unyielding resolution but rather something that flows with the changes life brings. As a writer, one of my intentions is to write daily. (How I do this will come in a minute.)
Why make one? Simply to give yourself a focus. So often, life can get confusing and blurry with how fast it goes. By choosing to focus on a single thing, you minimize or eliminate distractions.
How you go about this can take shape in a myriad of ways. In my case, my first step is to show up. Sit down at the computer or with a notebook. Write, even if it’s one sentence–write. Repeat the following day.
The biggest thing to keep in mind, however, is that an intention should be a thing expressed in a positive way with the understanding that life happens. Don’t get yourself down if it takes you for a wild ride one day. The next day, refocus on your intention and keep going right where you left off.
Intentions should also have a time frame. It might change, depending on how long that wild ride lasts, but they should be concrete enough to keep you going. Time frames help prevent apathy or laziness.
I find that intentions allow for more flexibility than resolutions, which is why I always encourage people around New Year’s to focus on an intention rather than a resolution. Intentions say, “This is what I want to achieve/experience” without being tightly bound to “the one right way” to get there. It allows for change, understands that life happens, and yet it gives you the focus you need to keep driving toward your ultimate goals and dreams.