I like to write about intention-setting at the start of the year. It’s certainly a topic many examine right about now. Last year I talked about getting creative with goals – or resolutions – in the midst of so much uncertainty (such as how can I experience new places with the uncertainty of travel?). This year, I want to explore how I settle on intentions in the first place.

I talked last year about the theme around an intention, and how that theme can assist with getting creative around the more specific goals associated with them. Coming back to that, setting a theme as an intention is a way of simplifying and also adjusting as needed. That simplifying process also gives me something succinct that I can call to mind when a teacher invites me to set an intention at the start of a class. And certainly, some of that is to allow for changed plans in the year ahead that could otherwise feel damaging to a specific goal.

Coming back to yoga, let me take an example of what I mean about setting a theme as my intention. Perhaps a goal might be to take class three weekdays at the studio, or a certain number of days in a row. That can be a great goal to work towards, but I wonder how might I feel if things got in the way? A project at work, not feeling well, patio dinners even with friends. One week may be okay, but two? Three? It can be good to build in some flexibility with my goal, but also…a year is a long time. How can I set my intention for the year to allow for the unexpected?

First I’ll look at why those goals in particular are coming to my mind. Thinking on the last two years with working from home and social distancing, one thing is movement. I want to move more.

Theme: Movement

I might boil this down to my intention for the year. Movement. It’s something that I can easily bring to mind at the start of class when a teacher asks me to set an intention or to think about why I stepped on my mat, which may reinforce my intention. It also allows me to change up a plan. If I have a conflict for my favorite scheduled class, can I take another class? Or can I find a trail to get outside for walk? And bonus for the new plan: enjoying nature.

That simplified intention is right there on the surface for me to come back to in class. Sticking with movement, as I go through class I can think about how that movement feels across my body, stretching my legs from their seated position or my shoulders from being bent over a computer. I find it reinforces what I’m striving towards.

I try to have smaller, more specific goals underneath my theme. Which I also find that having a theme lets me expand upon my goal throughout the year if my specific plans are met or change, and I still feel like I’m striving towards my intention set at the beginning of the year.

This is the part of a series of posts for The Mat Yoga Studio, sharing my thoughts and observations as a student only. The views and opinions are my own experience. 


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *