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Pretty much all of us are familiar with the practice of goal setting. We’re taught to set goals and then work toward them from a young age. This isn’t a bad practice, but it isn’t everything either.

And, if you’ve ever stepped foot in a yoga studio, you’re probably used to the prompt of setting an intention for the class. The idea behind intention setting brings your attention from the big picture goals you may have, to the present, to the here and now. We aren’t looking to the future and what we want to accomplish, or what we haven’t yet achieved. Instead, we’re looking at who we are now and we’re focusing on our values.

I try to make intention setting a personal, daily practice. It’s wonderful to get the push while in a class, but our intentions may change from day to day, if not hour to hour. Maybe it’s seasonal, reaching for gratitude as we come into the holiday season. Maybe it’s calm as we struggle with the stresses of school, work and family. Maybe it’s accepting light, or giving ourselves permission to let go of the dark. Maybe it’s to be present more often.

We can pause and set an intention at any point in our day, and I love to do this when I can take a few moments to do a breathing exercise as well.

Today, my intention is calm and joy. With my eyes closed, sitting in a comfortable position I breathe deeply, filling my lungs with my inhales and emptying them with my exhales. When I breathe in, I breathe in calm. When I breathe out, I breathe out stress. When I breathe in, I breathe in joy. When I breathe out, I breathe out stress.

I invite into my life the peace that I want, and I let that energy out into the world.

What is your intention?

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