Yoga Intentions vs Our TO DO lists

A daily “to do” list or monthly goals are wonderful ways to stay organized and motivate yourself to do something healthy like exercise.

But in yoga, there is a term called an intention.  It is from the Latin word intendere or intentio which means both “stretching” and “purpose”.  Instead of a goal or resolution, there is no end date and you never check it off your to do list.  These are ways to carve a new path, stretching yourself beyond what you might see as possible, towards a new state of mind.  Your intention flows though your every word, action and thought.  

There is no right or wrong in intention setting.  Some guidelines or suggestions would be to select a single word or short phrase.  Something that you feel called towards and want to cultivate more of in your life.  When we bring our attention and awareness to something, we shine a light on it and help it to grow in our life.  

For example, mine is the word “Wonder”.  I want to approach my life situations with curiosity and creativity instead of fear and anxiety.  Knowing that an open mind and heart to all the possibilities will leave me with a sense of freedom, instead of feeling closed off and limited.  

Your focus can change to a different intention, but you never actually “complete” them.  They are a way to practice yoga off the mat, in your every day life.  It goes beyond the physical practice and shapes how you want to live as a person.  How you treat yourself and others around you.  

How to remind yourself of your intention? 

It is good to remind yourself of the intention you set from time to time so it is at the top of your mind. This can be done at a frequency that works for you. It also should be noted that our intentions may shift and change over time. It is great to adjust and set a new intention or revisit a previous one. The important part is that me remind ourselves where to shift our attention and focus so we can work on what is important to us in our daily life.

  • Daily = As soon as you wake up in the morning, start with a silent 2 min meditation to set your daily intention.
  • Weekly = When you are on your yoga for your physical practice, begin with a moment of silence to set your intention.
  • Monthly = Every 1st of the month, pause and set your intention. You can even write this down in a journal as a way to solidify the focus.

The important part to remember is that there is no “wrong way” to set an intention. As long as you find benefit, then you are on the right path.