What is Intention and How to Find Yours: Working with Intention During the 30 Day Warrior Challenge
“Our intention creates our reality”.
Simply put intention is a way to get clear on what you really want. And having a consistent intention practice (like the one we will cultivate during our 30-Day Warrior Challenge) is a way to keep yourself reminded of that.
The truth is our busy, complicated, fast-paced, world often pulls us off course. We get distracted. We get stressed. Our thoughts get muddied. We become reactive and unfocussed and forget what’s most important to us.
Having a clear intention is a way to bring you back to centre. It’s a way to reset your course and bring you back home to who you truly are.
So how do we do that? How can we get clear on our intention and create a practice to stay reminded of it? There are three key steps:
STEP ONE: CLARIFY YOUR INTENTION
What are you truly longing for? What’s calling to you? What are you wanting to cultivate in your life?
For some, answering these questions might be the hardest step. Often we have been so influenced by the voices or influences of others that we are unclear about what we really want in our lives. Or we try to identify our intention using our rational thinking mind rather than our sense of intuition, wisdom and deep knowing.
If you are already clear on what you are trying to cultivate in your life than go on and skip right ahead to step two. If you’d like a little bit of help here, try this meditation + journaling exercise. (The downloadable file is available here)
STEP TWO: PUT YOUR INTENTION INTO WORDS
Stating your intention clearly will help increase your connection to it. You can use either an intention statement or an affirmation statement.
An intention statement starts with the words, ” I intend…” So if your intention is to have more love in your life. You might say “I intend to cultivate love in my life.” or “I intend to give love and receive love.” Or “I intend to create loving relationships in my life.”
You can also state your intention as an affirmation, a powerful I AM Statement that affirms what is coming to you. “I am love.” Or I am cultivating love.” or I am allowing myself to receive love.”
Try writing out different statements and see which one feels the most powerful to you. The key is to find something that resonates with you and that elicits some kind of emotional reaction. Once you have found that statement, write it down clearly and put it somewhere you can see it. Or even better write it down freshly every day to remind yourself of what you are working on.
STEP THREE: PRACTICE EMBODYING YOUR INTENTION
Intentions are not just words on a piece of paper. They involve all aspects of ourselves including our mental, emotional and physical bodies. In summary, we don’t want to just say the words of our intention. We want to work towards feeling the significance behind words as well.
So if our intention is to cultivate more love, then during our intention practice we actually want to practice feeling the emotions and sensations that go along with love.
Sometimes this is hard. Sometimes we aren’t feeling loving. That’s ok. That’s why it’s a practice. Over time, as we start to awaken the neural pathways that go along with love, it will start to get easier. If you’re having a hard time here are a few tips:
- Connect with an image of yourself in the future. Close your eyes and take a moment to imagine yourself at a future time when you can more easily live your intention. Maybe it’s one year from now or 5 or 10. Any timeframe is fine. Get a clear image of yourself. Notice where you are. Notice who you are with. Pay attention to how you walk and carry yourself? How do you relate to others? And how do others feel around you? Try to get a sense of how your future self feels and allow yourself to bring some of those feelings into the present.
- Remember a time from the past when you feel you were closer to living your intention. So if your intention is to receive love, you might think back to a time when you were child, perhaps with a loving grandparent, a sibling or a pet. Try to get a clear image of yourself at that time. Notice where you were and who you were with. Notice how you felt and how you related to others. Allow yourself to have a visceral connection to those feelings again. See if you can embellish them, enhance them, deepen them and get them to last a little longer.
When you try the above exercises notice whether any physical sensations, images, feelings or thoughts go along with your intention. Sometimes really curious things come up! You might notice your heart tingles or your belly softens or your feet feel more solid. Look for clues as to where your intention lives in your physical body as well.
INTENTION + THE WARRIOR CHALLENGE
The Warrior Challenge is a great way to deepen your connection to your intention through yoga. During our challenge period, every teacher will take a moment to gently encourage you to connect with your intention. When you are cued in class to connect with your intention, try the following:
- Softly say your intention to yourself.
- Give yourself a moment to feel a mental, physical and emotional connection to that intention.
- Notice any physical shifts, sensations, feelings, thoughts images or memories that show up for you.
We also invite you to write your intention and pin it to our intention wall!
Whether you’re joining us in the 30 day challenge or not, we hope you will consider beginning or enhancing an intention practice. We know that with consistent focus, practice and repetition you will start to see the power of intention in your own life.