We often hear maxims like “Honor your soul’s intention,” or “Set an intention,” but what, exactly, is an intention? “To honor something is to revere it, to show courteous regard for something, and also to hold in high respect,” writes Nicki Doane, one of the two founders of Maya Yoga, on the Maya Yoga Studio Blog. Resolution is trying to solve something, a goal, while an intention is a purposeful way of living, a path. For this week’s Healthy Habit, here are three ways to honor your intention.
Be Realistic. Doane cautions against setting intentions that are “way beyond your personal reality.” I love that term: Personal reality. If your intention is so far beyond what you can possibly achieve at this current moment in your life, you will just feel critical and guilty when you fall short. Instead, set an intention that is respectful of who you are, and set out to support yourself onto that path to being a better version of your glorious self.
Look Beyond You. Daniel Foor, Ph.D., author of the upcoming book Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing, teaches we honor our ancestors when we fulfill our personal potential and life’s purpose. “Many cultures maintain that we each have a unique destiny or karma to fulfill and that we ideally make it a high priority to remember these original instructions and do what is necessary to express our gifts, our true will, and our most authentic selves,” he writes on his blog. Calling upon our ancestors to become allies in this process can be powerful. One might dedicate a good deed in the name of an ancestor, for example, as an offering, or create a special family shrine as a way of creating momentum to an intention.
Set a sankalpa This Sanskrit term is borrowed from yoga practice but it can be used both on and off the mat. A sankalpa is a solemn vow that you make to yourself and don’t share with anyone else. Choose a short, powerful phrase or sentence, which you will use over and over, to create a positive change. “I am free of debt,” for example, or “I feel energetic.”