| By Penny Amann |
Happy 2018! Time for new beginnings, a fresh new start.
Each New Year, millions of people set goals for the next 365 days. Vows to quit smoking, start new careers, lose weight, etc. are set.
I dislike the idea of “resolutions,” those loosely placed goals that seem motivating when you make them, but then nag at you unpleasantly for most of the year.
Unfortunately, traditional New Year’s resolutions are rarely effective as a means of goal-setting. Most people who set these resolutions give up by the end of January. The problem seems to be the way the resolution is set.
I’d like to share with you a different approach.
One of my favorite yoga books is “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga” by Deepak Chopra. The fifth spiritual law of yoga he writes about is on Intentions and Desires. The following wisdom is inspired by the information in Deepak’s book and has helped me set intentions that I’ve successfully carried out:
- We experience the energy of life subjectively as our thoughts, feelings, memories, desires, needs, expectations, fantasies and beliefs. We experience the energy of life objectively in our physical body in a physical world. This collection of thoughts is called your mind, and the collection of molecules and cells are called your body and are different disguises of the same reality.
- Your personal body (subjective and objective) is not separate from the body of the universe. By accepting this, you can influence the energy and information of your extended body, which is the world you live in. This influence is activated by attention and intention – the two qualities of the consciousness. Attention enlivens, while intention transforms.
- If you want something to grow stronger in your life, bring more attentions to it. If you want it to grow weaker, take your attention away from it. Your intention is the organizer to transform this attention energy into being. A simple example here would be a house plant. Your intention is to keep the plant healthy, so you bring attention to it by watering the plant and making sure it gets enough light, which will enliven it and help it to grow strong. If you set the same plant in a dark corner and take your attention away from it, it will eventually die. Now think about this same process with your New Year’s intentions.
To make this process achievable for you, I’d like to share four simple steps to help you set your intentions for your yoga practice and your life.
- Be very clear about your intentions and desires. Be wary of the attention you give to certain things, such as telling yourself you are ugly or unworthy, or that you don’t have enough money, cannot ever do that yoga pose, etc. Reverse what you tell yourself by stating to yourself, “I am enough, I have enough, I am loved,” etc. Also, quality over quantity: The intention to live 100 years isn’t one of the mind’s best intentions because the quality of those years is more important than the quantity. State what you intend very clearly.
- Take the time to regularly write down your intentions. Review your intentions often and modify them as they manifest in your life and as your desires evolve. Taking time to document what you desire in your heart and mind accelerates the process of manifesting them in your life.
- Surrender the outcome. This step is so important. Once you set your intentions and desires, cultivate an attitude of trust. Even when things don’t seem to be going the way you intended them to, know there is a greater power at work. This power has your best interest at heart and in the proper time, your intentions will manifest. Even in your yoga postures, maintain this inner attitude of surrender. Attend to, and then release your intentions and watch the results in your yoga practice and in your life.
- Practice being present. Lastly, and maybe the most important step: Remind yourself to be present in this moment every single day in all your actions, not just your yoga practice. When doing the dishes, be present. While driving, be present. When setting up your retirement account, be present. In downward dog posture, be present. In all things be present, not fearing the future or being anxious over the past. Present moment awareness empowers your intentions and desires.
Happy New Year. I leave you with this quote:
May all your intentions and desires for 2018 manifest beautifully. Namaste.
Penny Amann is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), an American Council on Exercise (ACE) group fitness instructor and a Total Body Resistance Exercise (TRX) Level-2 coach. She teaches at Pure Yoga for Life in Clermont.