Happy New Year Pogis!
In light of the New Year, we wanted to touch on one of our previous blog posts about successfully reaching the goals you set for yourself. In that post, we cited that according to U.S. News and World Report, some 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. One cause for this is a failure to enhance your ability to support consistent motivation or to handle the inevitable stress and pain involved in change. To put it in simple terms, the changes or “resolutions” we set can cause too much pressure and that can often lead to self-sabotage. This (among other reasons) eventually leads to the early downfall of our intended goals.
Many (aka most) New Year’s resolutions are centered around diet, weight-loss and fitness. It’s no surprise that the most popular New Year’s resolution of 2017 was to get healthy. While we certainly do not want to discourage or hinder anyone from setting their sights on getting healthier in the New Year, the reality is that New Year’s resolutions tend to fall away by mid-January causing many of us to sink deeper into feelings of failure and shame.
At Pogamat, we truly believe in the importance of positive changes in mind, body and overall health and want to see you succeed in all that you do! Let’s talk about a solution that will put less pressure on ourselves and create positive changes without having those daunting resolutions hanging over our heads. Let’s start by looking at our yoga practice and taking a little piece from that practice and applying it to our every day lives. Instead of setting resolutions, we should stick to setting intentions for 2018.
First, let’s explore why we set intentions in yoga. An intention is bringing your attention and awareness to a quality, action, feeling or state of mind we wish to cultivate over the duration of our practice with the eventual goal of being able to apply that to your life as you step off of your mat. Some intentions might be a simple focused word such as gratitude, patience or joy and can work up to being more complex such as being present in the moment, awareness of breath, letting go of anger and releasing negativity, being open to receive peace from the every day happenings surrounding you, etc.
Intentions are powerfully energetic tools because what begins with a conscious purpose soon begins to “come to life” off of your mat and into the world, penetrating all other areas of your life. So you may be wondering…
How exactly is an intention different from a resolution?
Resolution means “the process of resolving a problem” and therefore implies there is a problem at hand. A resolution is stating that you have a problem that you are aware of and choosing to essentially put an end to it because you no longer wish to live with it. It is a determination and a choice. Now while that can all sound great, there is a big negative aspect to it. Resolutions are tainted with the belief: ‘I’ll be good enough when…’, ‘I’ll be loveable when...’, etc,. For that reason, when we don’t achieve these resolutions we set for ourselves, it can be a very painful thing. It can affect our self-esteem and often there is so much pressure that we give up altogether instead of trying again or modifying. We often wait until the next New Year because maybe that will be better timing. Resolutions come from a place of feeling, where you feel the need to accomplish something in order to be happy. Sometimes, even when we do achieve these goals, you may still feel unfulfilled. Therefore, a resolution will fail unless it has true resolve at it’s core.
The word ‘intention’ can be translated as a vow that has been initiated in the very core of your heart, the place of your deepest truth. It is different than a goal, in that it’s a longing that comes from your highest self instead of your thinking brain. What is great is that an intention does not have to be set at the beginning of the year where if you “fail” you’re back at square one. Instead, intentions can (and should) be set over the course of each day, week or month. There is no pressure of setting the goal and if your don’t attain it that’s it. Intentions will change, sometimes daily and will evolve over the course of the year, as life happens. There are too many things that are out of our control and so intentions evolve as we do. Most New Year’s resolutions are actually New Year’s intentions in disguise.
Another bonus to intentions… you are essentially expressing your authentic truth by embodying this newfound energy and keeping it with you. As you continue to focus an intention, you uplift your energy and increase your energetic vibration and this can serve to inspire the lives of those around you.
What are the best ways to set and cultivate your intentions?
These all intertwine with one another but try a few of different options and keep up with one or all of them, depending on what serves you best.
Start with Yoga
As practitioners of yoga, we have the advantage of setting an intention every time we step onto our mats. Grab your Pogamat and start here. How do you wish to feel when the class is over? Set your intention to achieve that feeling and spend the class in a moving meditation to achieve your intention.
Allow yourself to let go of self-judgment as your encounter obstacles throughout your class (physical limitations, feelings of exhaust, comparing yourself to others) and instead, come back to that intention. When you begin to notice the obstacles for what they are and trust that they are part of your path, it will open you up to opportunities for growth. At the end of your practice, take another moment to really focus on your intention again before you go about your day. Over time, your yoga practice will help you take your intention off the mat and manifest it to create and achieve your life’s dreams.
Make a Vision Board
If you’ve never made a vision board before, you’re in for a treat. We love this article by Christie Inge on how a vision board helped her in her own life. Below is a summary of the steps she recommends taking but follow the link for more detailed description of each step.
How To Make A Vision Board That Actually Works
- Discern your intentions.
- Gather your supplies.
- Create Space.
- Find your images + words.
- Paste them to the page.
- Put your vision board somewhere that you can see it.
- Write a “make it real” list.
- Notice + heal any resistance.
Write down your intentions in a Journal
This should not be a list of things you feel obligated to check off but rather created as more of a journal entry of an intention(s) you wish to focus on in the present moment. For me, it makes things more clear and directs my focus once I can put things on to paper. When I have ideas in my mind, it can run if a million different directions. When I write things down, I am obligated to focus and it really gets me thinking about what is most important to me.
As Jack Canfield (motivational speaker and co-
When you meditate your are aware of the inner guidance coming from your soul and then you can use your intellect, body, emotions, intuition, imagination in the service of whatever you are directed to do.
Here are three different kinds of meditation to try:
TM: Transcendental meditation is a simple, natural technique. Transcendental Meditation does not focus on breathing or chanting, like other forms of meditation. Instead, it encourages a restful state of mind beyond thinking. This form of meditation allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.
Mantra Meditation: Mantra meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years. The practice consists of the two individual components of chanting mantras and meditating and has a different purpose for every person. Mantra meditation requires consistent practice, but is simple and can effect many positive changes in your life.
Vapasana: as the basis of all traditions of Buddhist meditation, vapasana involves watching your breath, just being there and allowing thoughts to emerge and go away. Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence.
Visualize your dreams
Too often, our minds are so active and preoccupied that it’s difficult to see our dreams clearly. Similar to meditation, visualization takes 5-10 minutes our of your day to get through the clutter and clear your mind and visualize your dream. Find a comfortable position to sit or lay down in a quiet place (quiet and without interruptions are key). Close your eyes and take three deep breaths to calm your body and heart. Be still and imagine yourself in one year. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? What do you smell? How do you feel? Breathe in your life one year from now. Follow this same path to visualize five years from now, and then ten years. When you visualize your dreams, you manifest your intentions and cultivate your path to get there.
Go Easy On Yourself
In a world of competition, we seem to be our toughest critics. Give yourself some grace and recognize that you are doing the best that you can and should allow yourself to recognize your triumphs instead of your troubles.
In closing, create intentions rather than resolutions as you move forward in 2018. Stay true to your intentions, but remain flexible in your approach. Trust in the process and take things one day at a time. There will be obstacles that will challenge you to give up but let go of attachment to a specific path that will lead you to your dreams. Be open to change your plans and let the universe handle the details. Trust that the universe has the power to orchestrate the fulfillment of your intentions.
Share your positive energy and successes with us in the New Year by following along and tagging us at Pogamat (on Instagram) and using the following hastags: #pogamat, #positivepogi and #pogis.