Living Our Intentions Beyond the Mat
Has anyone ever wondered what this “busy-ness” is about setting our intentions? I mean, think about it, what is the difference between an intention and a goal? Isn’t an intention like a goal, but on steroids? And for me personally, I fell victim, to an idea that no longer served me and I am here to share a scratch of that experience with you today.
What comes to mind and rest on the tip of the tongue for many spiritual teachers, life coaches, and wellness gurus these days is easy enough to understand, but what does the phrase “intentions” mean? It’s sort of catchy, isn’t it?
For most and typically, the one space you find intention setting taking place is at the beginning of a yoga class. The instructor usually invites you in, allows you a moment to center up, and you may even be offered a chance to strike a pose with a cool mudra in mind, perhaps, by bringing both palms together heart center for Anjali Mudra. Then, and only then, the question finally comes, asking each and every one of the yogis in the room to set an intention for their practice.
Nonetheless this is usually where the invitation ends.
By that time and for me personally, the well-balanced yogi I tell myself I be. In 1.0 seconds flat on my quick setting intention meter. I would have the to-do lists, step by step instructions on the how-to do’s, and precisely at what measure I was going to kick hard core ass doing it sweating out of my pores. That is how fully unaware, uninvolved, and in the present moment I was not. I was not showing up for myself nor was I showing up for my practice. I was driven by more of the next that was never to come and so I became consumed, irritated, and stressed out all of the time. I felt suffocated and heavy. And I believed that if I kept pushing harder and doing better than I did this time, next time I would meet my mark.
In all actuality, before I even learned what a(n) intention actually was, I would set my intentions according to my practice, and most indeedy with great muster I would practice I would. I would push myself to work harder to exhaustion so I could produce a desired amount of sweat that I would be expected to release an anticipated amount of toxins along with an unlikely amount of old energy from my body. By doing this I convinced myself I most definitely would achieve the perfect warrior III pose, which would motivate me to be on the mat 7 days a week and I would be the coolest, healthiest, hippiest & ripped yogi this side of the #352. But tell me, I mean, have you ever seen a ripped hippie yogi in the #352 anywhere, ever? Me neither! This is where the path of yoga begins for few and stops for many.
And essentially, for this somewhat still cool hippy chick of a yogi, I have learned throughout the years of practicing yoga, #1 you do not have to be practicing yoga to set an intention and by setting an intention you are practicing yoga.
First, allow me to explain what an intention is not. It is not something you would attach an expectation, evaluation, or judgement to.
An intention is something you want to align with in your life. That is what yoga is, a union, to bring together, as one. It is an aim, a purpose, or a certain attitude you would be proud to oblige to. I also like to remind people that setting intentions is not just about tangible, physical things, they are deeply personal and intangible, it is also about how you operate internally, your internal wealth. In other words, something in which has boundless meaning to you and sets fire to your soul, let us say for an example, an extension of kindness, compassion, or perhaps seeking to understand, rather than to be understood. They provide a method of bringing your heart and mind into alignment with one another. Which by the way, seems the longest journey yet traveled for some. It is the 18 inches between the head and heart in which makes the distinct connection in bringing into alignment your true set intention(s). Igniting the mind-body connection, the unification of the triad (mind, body, and soul) are now in the process of aligning itself.
For instance,[TK1] [TK2] living your intentions is much different. Being intentional allows you to become more aware, mindful, and in the moment of where your attention is. It lets you focus on how you want to be in the moment, independent of whether you are “winning or losing.” Intentions are not the tangible “boost sales by 50%” or “get a promotion” kind of smart goals that you set at work. They are heart-driven and evoke feeling and purpose, like “practice being non-judgmental of myself and of others,” “sending compassion out to the world,” “open my heart,” and “let go of fear…” Our intention may be closely tied to our personal thoughts, values, and outlook on life. Intentions can be a clear and a specific aspiration, or as simple as a word or phrase you would like to align yourself with, like “open your mind and heart,” “love,” “vulnerability,” “strength,” “kindness for myself and others,” “peace,” or “freedom.”
Now, let us pause for a moment, and shift our attention over to those goals. I suggest that focusing on your intentions does not mean that you give up on your goals, your desire to achieve them, or anything else you are striving to meet. We are moving towards our intentions meeting our actions. Take a moment and look over the list created below. Here you will find three differences between goals and intentions. It may be a possibility that they provide a different approach in bringing both concepts together at the same time. Let’s take a look:
1. Goals are focused on the future.
a)Intentions keep us grounded in the present moment.
2. Goals are a destination or specific achievement.
a)Intentions are lived each day, independent of achieving the goal or destination.
3. Goals are external achievements.
a)Intentions are about your relationship with yourself and others.
Keeping in mind that goal setting is a valuable practice that helps you get things done. Goals are essential for completing tasks, whether it is developing a new business skill, saving money, or losing weight.
Finally, by setting your intention first, and merging it with your goals, you will become a Creator who enjoys both the journey, as much as the destination.
– And it is from my heart to yours, that I wish for you, love, light, and laughter. Afterall, life is not all that serious in the grand scheme of things. Enjoy It.
Written By Tracy Kendrick 01/09/21