A ROOT Awakening: Pay Attention To Your Intention
How many times have we gone into a yoga class, sat with our hands at our hearts, and then were asked to “set an intention?” For years I would ignore this cue because I didn’t really understand the value of this part of the practice. Just like how I used to think meditation was an excuse for a nap, I regarded intention as some fluffy intangible thing that was not going to make my core stronger… or would it?
Most of us strive to be a better version of ourselves each day, but with all the distractions and demands of the day, it’s easy to fall off course. For example, how many times have you gotten sucked into Facebook or Instagram, then looked up at the time and realized five or ten minutes have gone by? If you’re smiling, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Now, if you intended to take that break with the intention of getting lost in the world of social media, you might feel pretty good about allowing your head to wander. But if you did not intend for that to happen, you might feel guilty, frustrated, and even ashamed.
When I first created ROOT Yoga Therapy, I had to peel away a lot of layers and ask myself a series of questions to clearly convey my message, my intention. As most of us know, yoga in the west is typically thought of and practiced as a form of physical fitness (yay for long lean muscles!) While there is nothing wrong with this type of practice, I knew that as a yoga therapist, I was going to face some challenges in:
- differentiating myself from what others were offering
- explaining my approach to potential clients and other healthcare professionals
- encouraging others to recommend and use this practice to heal and improve their quality of life
I knew discovering and setting my intention around my business was the key to understanding how to address these challenges, which projects to pursue, which stories to tell, and what type of community to build with the wonderful ROOT tribe. Now that I’ve found my intention – empowering habit change through yoga therapy – I can lead and create with authenticity.
How setting an intention strengthens the heart of who we are and what we want to create
Clarity. Whether it’s mastering a certain yoga pose, moving through an ailment or striving for a promotion at work, the road can get bumpy. We might find ourselves pushing our limits (physical and mental) and sacrificing our free time to reach our goals. In these tough situations, it is common to get distracted and ask the age-old question “what am I doing” and “why am I doing this?’
Intentions offer answers for what we do and why we do them, which play a huge role in offering us clarity. It’s that clarity that keeps us connected and grounded. Without the clarity of our intention, we may lose motivation to carry out our goal. However, when we are clear on the why/when/where/how we are able to stay aligned with our purpose, making it easier for others to support and encourage you on your journey.
Confidence. When family and friends impart opinions, fears, and worry on our decisions, it can open the door for confusion to set in. Sometimes, the opinions of our loved ones are so persuasive that they lead us towards self-doubt. Having a clear intention instills confidence in our actions. When we are clear on our intention, we are not only more capable but our journey also becomes that much more powerful.
When I decided to leave my job to start my own business (a position many entrepreneurs find themselves in), I felt my own fears and worries as well as the fear and worry of those closest to me. Now, even though it’s normal and expected for our loved ones to caution us on the road ahead, it is important to not be dissuaded from what we feel will bring us true happiness. With a strong intention, it’s much easier to do a quick “gut-check” because we can take comfort in our purpose and believe in our path. And, if we are firmly aligned with this purpose, we are unshakable and unstoppable.
Community. Most of us have heard about the law of attraction which I like to call the “law of intention.” The law of attraction says, “you don’t attract what you want, rather you attract what you are.” Having a strong, clear intention allows us to fake it until we become it (as Amy Cuddy would say), which creates the space for the right people to come into your life. On the flip side, it will also make it clear for you to decide what relationships you no longer want in your life. When we build a community with a strong intention, we are surrounding ourselves with people who share common interests, goals, and values. Most of us have heard that there is power in numbers. Cultivating a group of like-minded souls brings more energy to our intention and offers us a sense of accountability.
Setting an intention guides us to take action and get results. There is no other way. We are 7.5 months into the year and the next 5.5 months are a blank slate. Ask yourself, what are you going to do differently moving forward? Is this day one or more like one day?