Your life is full of responsibilities and you make it through the day checking off boxes, solving problems, powering through, but getting caught up in the busyness of everything that comes your way and just going through the motions every day for months or years or decades can leave you feeling unfulfilled and depleted.
Does this sound familiar?
Yet in your heart, you believe there has to be a way to live a more connected and inspired life; therefore you keep going and try to make things better. Is that working for you?
If not, there’s a simple way to know where you should be putting your attention and energy so that you can create the type of life you really want or yourself, and that’s what this video is all about.
Welcome to Simple Yoga Life, a weekly show about making the wisdom and practices of yoga part of your life so that you can be more present, calm, and confident every single day. I’m your host, Stephannie Weikert. I’m a Certified Yoga Therapist and creator of the online programs Shift Happens with Yoga + Make Peace with Stress. I’m on a mission help you make big, positive changes in your life in small, surprisingly simple steps.
The simplest way to make sure life is going in the direction you want is to use the potent tool of intention.
You’re going to love the way intention setting helps you make big positive changes in your life truly simple.
Understanding intention is one of the most important and transformational lessons from yoga philosophy that will have a big impact with very little effort. And that’s exactly what simple yoga life is all about.
So to understand the powerful context of intention, let’s look at the word in Sanskrit which is the ancient language of India where yoga originated thousands of years ago.
The word for intention is sankalpa and, like many Sanskrit words, must be broken down to understand it’s deep-rooted meaning. San means all ideas, thoughts, and desires of the heart united in one focus or highest truth. Kalpa means single goal, the principle to be followed over all other principles, or resolve.
An intention, or sankalpa, is more than just a thought or statement, it’s an inner force.
A heartfelt desire to direct your choices.
A commitment to focus on your deepest value.
A way of being guided by your highest truth.
Your intention starts from the premise that you’re already who you need to be to fulfill your life’s purpose.
Your intention is an expression of your deepest inner truth and therefore, something you connect with, rather than something you do or make-up. Your intention is your why, your purpose for being, and your endless supply of motivation.
There are 2 types of intentions: goal and root intentions.
I think of a goal intention as a short-term focus and the root intention as your lifelong direction.
Recognizing your root intention, your lifelong direction is an enormous blessing because it anchors you to your life’s purpose.
It’s quite likely your root intention will take some time to arise, but working with a goal intention, or a short-term focus, repeatedly will help clear the path for your root intention to be known.
Setting specific goal intentions can help you pay attention to your inner voice so that ultimately your inner knowing can be felt.
Goal intentions help you align your choices so that you can discover what you need to move forward on your path.
Your goal intention will focus your attention and clarify where you need to direct your energy to make sure your life is going in the direction you want.
So imagine you wake up in the morning, and before you go through your routine, before you rush out the door before you get caught up in the busyness of whatever you’re going to be doing, you took a minute to acknowledge why the day is important to you.
To recognize what will inspire and satisfy you?
To clarify how you want to feel.
It really can be that simple and setting an intention becomes a GPS for the decisions you make every day (whether you realize it or not) about who you want to be, how you show up in the world, and what you contribute to your life and the lives of everyone around you.
Here are some examples of intentions:
- To have an open mind and heart.
- To be steady, calm and focused.
- To feel vulnerable and yet courageous.
- To give and receive love.
- To peacefully connect with others.
So how do you connect with your intention? Whether you’re working with a goal intention or your root intention, discovering it is a practice of listening.
Both your short-term focus and lifelong heartfelt desire is already present within you, waiting to be heard, and felt. It’s not something you need to make up or search for with your mind.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you get started with intention setting.
The answers to these questions reflect your inner experience about how you want to feel:
- What matters most to me?
- What would I like to create or nurture?
- What would I like to let go of?
- When am I happiest?
- What makes me proud?
As you ask yourself one or more of these questions and listen for the answers from within.
But, what if your answers to these questions are about some external or superficial thing, like a bigger paycheck or a better relationship or a fitter body?
If that happens, know that even these desires of the ego or mind lead to your short-term focus.
For example, a bigger paycheck points toward a need for security, a better relationship is likely about a desire for meaningful connection, a fitter body indicates a deeper longing for wellbeing.
So if your answers to these questions don’t seem to be from the wisdom of your heart, see if you can dig a bit deeper, but let whatever comes up be ok for the day.
Like all things yoga, asking, and listening, and deepening your ability to be honest with yourself, and cultivating the courage to embrace your truth, is a practice.
I recommend establishing your daily goal intention at some point during your morning routine.
There are many things you do in the first hour or so of your day every single day without fail. Choose one of these to use as a trigger to set your intention for the day.
Like perhaps, while you’re brushing your teeth, you ask yourself, “What’s important to me today?”
Once you’ve determined your intention (remember to let the process be simple!), create a short, simple statement that is focused on the positive and present such as:
- My mind and heart are open to every experience.
- I am steady, calm and focused.
- I give and receive love abundantly.
Repeat your statement often throughout the day and start to notice what is and isn’t in alignment with your intention.
This may be your thoughts, attitude, actions, or choices.
Give yourself permission to say yes to everything that serves your intention and no to the things that don’t.
I cannot emphasize enough that this is a practice.
Be patient and compassionate as you work with establishing and connecting with your intention.
Finally, you may feel pressured throughout the day to try to control or force every situation to match your intention. You know the adage the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Force creates resistance.
Even though intention setting is the way to be sure your life is going the direction you want and ultimately, the way to be guided by your highest truth, it’s important to trust what shows up for you.
When you experience inner opposition, there’s an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of yourself.
When your day isn’t lining up with your intention, acknowledge it and take the opportunity to practice listening to what comes naturally from your heart as best you can.
If you need some guidance + support clarifying your intention, book a free mini-session with me. You can schedule a 20-minute call here.
There’s no pitch or obligation, I really do simply want to help.
So thank you for watching this episode Simple Yoga Life, I hope I’ve inspired you to begin making simple yoga part of your routine.
Let me know in the comments below what you’re starting to hear within yourself by finishing the sentence: I would like to nurture ___ in my life.
And I’m sure you know a busy, stressed-out woman who could benefit from feeling more present, calm, and confident every day, please share this video with her.
A rising tide lifts all boats, so everything you do to make positive changes in your life truly does elevate us all. Thank you.
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