Often when I start class I will ask students to set an intention for their practice, for their journey. In yoga this is known as Sankalpa, loosely translated as your deepest heart felt desire, or a resolution/resolve. What is it that you want to achieve in this life, this yoga practice? What is your purpose for being here at this class or on this earth? When we know what we want and we set a resolution to find or achieve that state then our actions will follow our intention. From our actions our course of life changes, and from these changes your life can progress and grow.
What you sow, you shall reap.
We can use Sankalpa at the beginning of any day, any practice, any journey. We ask ourselves, ‘how is it that I want to show up in the world today?’ ‘What are the things that I need to do to move in that direction?’ ‘ What are the barriers to achieving my intention for this day?’ If we learn to set an intention then we can bring more focus, more attention to what it is we need to achieve and thereby redirecting our energy to where it needs to go. The practice of setting a resolve or intention will also help you see that you have everything that you need within you to achieve change.
Once your awareness is more attuned you will find intention setting an easier task. In the beginning it may seem daunting. First ask yourself, ‘what is it that I need to achieve, be like or do today?’ Maybe you are suffering from anxiety or stress and you need to overcome that in order to function in the world more easily. Maybe you are having difficulty in a relationship or at work. Maybe you are feeling weak, unloved, overwhelmed or not good enough?
Firstly set your intention in the positive as if it has already happened. ‘ I am loved/ whole. complete/ strong/ free …..’ choose a word that sums up how you want to be today or this week. State it in the present tense.
Secondly choose a follow on action to back up your intention. I am loved, and today I will feel loved by all that enter my world, or I am strong, in this practice I will stay present for each pose regardless of the barriers, or I am complete, today I will acknowledge all the areas of my life I do well in’.
Thirdly, keep coming back to your intention during the day, if need be write it down. The intention setting practice is about being mindful and remembering to practice.
Lastly, just see what happens. You are not trying to change yourself, you are trying to direct your energy to the areas in your life that need it.
When you say something with your whole being it can change the world. Thich Nhat Hanh
Practice for today: When we remember that we are complete and we remember we have all the resources within us to make changes then it just comes down to practice. Where is it today that you would like to direct your energy so you and those around you can benefit?