Why set an intention for New Year?
Yoga is a powerful and holistic practice, and the gift of the New Year can bring deep reflection and introspection that can amplify the processes of self-inquiry, expanding our spiritual awareness and commitment to yogic living.
Whether you practice yoga at home, or at a studio, or at a gym, it’s common practice to set an intention for your time on the mat. Like a new year’s resolution, an intention names something you’re seeking or you wish to attain for yourself and/or others. But unlike resolutions, intention-setting focuses more on the journey that leads to certain outcomes and less on goals. Let’s look at it this way: Intentions focus more on internal power and long-term change, whereas resolutions focus more on external—and sometimes, short-lived—rewards.
Let us be clear: Intention setting should be equally as specific as setting a new year’s resolution. For example, if you choose to set a 2020 intention rather than a resolution, being as specific as possible will help you take responsibility for what you want or need. When you have clarity of intention, your paths to travel on becomes clear.
For example, a new year’s resolution may be as simple as “losing 10 pounds,” whereas an intention might be “practice self-care by eating nutritious and healing foods.” In both examples the wording is very specific, but the intention of self-care requires the person setting it to change their internal attitudes towards themselves in order to practice self-love and, hence, self-care. One can see how this paradigm shift in thinking will bring positive affects beyond weight loss and will not stop once they lose the 10 pounds.
This example shows us how intentions have the power to create an internal change in our patterns of thinking. In Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar refers to samskaras as “the accumulated residue of past thoughts and actions.” Samskara, which means “impression or grooves ” in Sanskrit, refers to the patterns and habits that keep us stuck in the versions of ourselves we want to “improve” when the new year comes around.
Intentions help to clear this patterns and habits from within in order to achieve change, where as resolutions are most often set with the desire of achievement of something external. The difference is quite subtle, but important.
In Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, it is indicated that samskaras cannot be erased by simply going into the mind and clearing them away. But in Sutra 1.16, it is suggested that they can be eradicated over time by journeying inward and realizing the peace and joy that is our true nature: “The moment you understand yourself as the true Self, you find such peace and bliss that the impressions and grooves of the petty enjoyments you experienced before become as ordinary specks of light in front of the brilliant sun. You lose all interest in them permanently. That is the highest non-attachment.”
If done right, an intention will not only help us in achieving a check-list of external improvements, it will give us the self-led support we need to realize our true nature. Not only can intention setting can bring about general self-improvement, but it can also lead to increased self-compassion and contentment.
What intention will you choose to lead yourself into the New Year 2020?
Join Pritpal for a very special Intention setting for the year 2020! Yoga Nidra is an effortless way to manifest your heart’s desire.
In this workshop, we will incorporate some physical practice (simply tensing and relaxing one’s muscles), and breath work as preliminary stages in a guided meditation designed to slow our brainwaves from their waking beta state into deeper levels of relaxation. As we continue to relax, we descend into deeper levels of consciousness. Eventually, we are able to access our subconscious mind- a place beyond learned fears and boundaries.
Call our studio at 905-712-9642 to find out about our next scheduled workshop.