The other year I started setting intentions rather than New Year resolutions as a way to evaluate things I wanted to work on and change in my life. A few months ago while scrolling through Instagram, I saw someone post their intentions for the month. I loved this idea because our personal goals, mantras or things we are working on change month to month (sometimes even day to day). This is something I’m starting to incorporate into my life and invite you to do the same!
I’m sharing a few of my intentions for July:
- Get my body moving everyday (morning and nighttime stretching)
- Clean and get rid of things I no longer need
- Read a book I’ve been wanting to read
- Try new recipes
- Show gratitude for loved ones and kindness to strangers
- Be more present in the moment
- Take more time to listen
What intentions are you setting this month?
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Sometimes traveling or being away from our homes can make us feel a little uneasy. My yoga class intention for last week was about finding home in your mind and body. There are some places we visit that remind us how much we miss home and there’s some yoga postures that make us feel uneasy (camel & wheel for me).
During these times, it’s important to focus on the things that ground us. Our breath, intention, a person, place, etc. If you feel like you’re searching for grounding while being away either mentally or physically, I have a few tips to share!
1. Get into a routine
I’ve noticed that a routine helps my mind and body stay on track. Maybe that’s finding a gym, yoga studio, or reading a few chapters from your book each night.
2. Journal & Meditate
Take some time to slow down and journal. Journaling helps me process my feelings, emotions, but also write down a gratitude list. If you need a little inspiration on what to write about, you can find the meditation journal I use here
Sometimes you need to feed your soul. Find a coffee shop or bakery and treat yourself to a coffee, tea, or in my case, a cookie dough cupcake! Maybe read a magazine, listen to your favorite playlist or a podcast while your enjoying your treat.
If yoga has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you need to let go of your ego. Once you can detach from your ego, your practice (and life) will begin to change and you will gain a new perspective. Your ego is that person in your head telling you that you should look a certain way and compares you to others. Your ego is also the voice in your head that says, “Wow I look so great compared to everyone else in class, I am rocking this pose” and then reality hits you with some humbleness and you fall right out of the posture.
The other day in class I slipped on my own sweat (gotta love hot yoga!) and totally fell out of my headstand right onto my butt. It was probably the best thing that has happened to me in awhile. It reminded me that I am not perfect. I continually come to my yoga mat to learn from myself as well as the teacher and fellow students.
I’ve had many instances where people have told me that they don’t want to try yoga because they are intimidated. They see everyone in these crazy yoga poses on Instagram and they can’t even touch their toes. Once you are able to take your ego out of the picture, you would be surprised what your body is capable of. One of my favorite quotes that I have shared with my yoga class is, “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.”
Nailing crow pose and being able to hold my first headstand were very rewarding feelings, but falling on my butt in class actually brought a huge smile to my face. When I got up, I was laughing so hard and it made the man next to me laugh too (once he realized I was okay). Realizing that we are all in life together and finding a little comfort in knowing that you are human is important. Everyone is on their own journey. There is no need to compare yourself to others whether that be on or off your yoga mat.
No matter what your level of yoga is, take time to recognize your ego and the way you speak to yourself and others. How can you quiet your ego to find more contentment and humbleness with yourself?
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I haven’t been teaching yoga very long, but what I have learned is that there is something therapeutic about speaking and explaining your intention to the class. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, usually the teacher will offer or invite you to set an intention for your practice (a mantra, quote, poem, etc.). Both as a teacher and a student, I like to center my intentions around something I am working on/towards or a lesson I’ve learned. The word that keeps coming up for me lately is empathy.
I don’t often share these intentions with the world, but I feel this one is important. In yoga, we say Namaste when we conclude our practice. But what does Namaste actually mean? My soul honors your soul. Sounds great, now can we start saying this to everyone and not just to our fellow yogis? Let’s end our meetings by saying Namaste. Tell the cashier at the grocery store Namaste. The guy at the deli who fixed you a sub, Namaste to him. You catch my drift. This word has been so glamorized on social media (I am also guilty of it) that I feel it’s lost its true meaning. Namastay in bed, Namastay at home, Namastay on the couch. We are “namastaying” everything and everywhere.
I came across this quote on Pinterest, “See the light in each other. Be the light for each other.” It made me think of the true meaning of Namaste. Honoring one’s self as well as your neighbor. We are all going through our own difficult battles so why not come together and be there for one another? You don’t need to be best friends with everyone, but showing empathy is a great place to start. In a world where there are some people who aren’t very nice, be kind. It doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are strong and true to yourself for showing kindness and love to people that test you.
I attended a restorative yoga class last year and the instructor had us spend a few moments in a seated meditation. She had us think about someone that is very difficult to get along with (all I could think of is that this is not going to be very meditative). Then, she instructed us to send love and positive thoughts to that person even though it might be very difficult to do so. Let go of the anger and negativity you are holding on towards that person and counteract those emotions with kindness. This is something that will stick with me forever. We are all human. When faced with difficult situations and people, we react a certain way. We can’t go back in time and change the way we reacted or the emotions that came up, but we can change the future. We can send kindness and love to those people that test us. It might sound crazy, but once you let go, you create space for really great things to come into your life.
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