At the beginning of most yoga classes, your teacher will invite you to set an intention for your practice.  This intention may be a word or phrase to describe something that you would like to receive, or a person who you would like to dedicate your energy towards.

Similarly, some of us will also choose to set resolutions at the start of a new year.  These are usually broad, achievement-orientated statements to describe a change that we would make in our lives.

Understandably, many yogis wonder if these two ideas are compatible, and want to know how their yogic intentions can support their New Year’s resolutions.

There are some differences between intention and resolution.  Most resolutions describe long-term goals that we set in hopes of making a major transformation.  They might include, “I will lose weight,” or, “I will save more money.”  On the other hand, intentions tend to be rooted in the present and usually describe small shifts in our mood, energy, or behavior.  Some intentions are, “Honor my body,” “Practice loving kindness,” or simply, “Breathe.”

However, resolutions and intentions are both positive, forward-looking methods for inviting change into our lives.  Yogis who choose to explore both intention and resolution may find a natural connection between these two ideas.  We can use the idea of intention, and our regular yoga practice, to support the big changes that we have resolved to achieve.

For example, setting a new intention with every practice can help us maintain a fresh perspective on our resolutions throughout the year, even as our experiences and priorities change.  This may help prevent our resolutions from feeling stale or obsolete after a few months.  As time goes by, our intentions can also remind us to acknowledge the progress we have made so far, and to be thankful for our commitment and hard work.

Whatever you hope to achieve, experience, or become this year, the staff of Radiance Yoga wishes you happiness and peace today, tomorrow, and all for of 2015.  Namaste.