Setting Intentions: How to Revitalize or Start a Yoga Practice

As the new year unfolds around us, it is a time of new beginnings and a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over. This is the time of year when yoga classes get full because people are making resolutions left and right to do more yoga, to eat better and get in shape. The question of course is how do we do that? Many people start off the new year with a laundry list of things they are going to change, only to fall back into old habits weeks or months later. Here are some tips to keep you on track!

Set Realistic Goals

First of all, don’t set expectations that are unreasonable. People ask me all the time how often should they do yoga when first starting – I always say to start slow, like once a week. Resolving to do yoga every day when that hasn’t been part of your recent reality sets you up for disappointment and possible self judgment. It’s better to set realistic goals for yourself. How about starting with yoga once a week? I would recommend finding a class with a teacher that you like, a time that works for your schedule and a class for your level of ability. Don’t go to an advanced class if you aren’t an advanced student, since that may make you feel bad about yourself and cause you to never go back to class.

A Little Goes a Long Way

If you cannot get to a class, use a DVD or a YouTube video. Practicing yoga for even 10 or 20 minutes will have a positive effect on your day and will improve how you feel and think about yourself. If you start with just a little bit and you see the positive results, then you will naturally start to extend the amount of time you practice. When 20 minutes isn’t enough, go for the 30 minute practice, and so on and so forth.

Take Time for Yourself

We are so stressed out in our conventional lives these days that many of us wake up thinking of all the things we have to do that day, often feeling that we just don’t have the time or resources to get it done. If we think we don’t have enough time for yoga, we likely wont. However, if we can start to reprogram our minds and tell ourselves that we do have the time, it often miraculously appears. I can’t tell you how often I get on my mat and tell myself I will practice for an hour because I only have 1 hour to practice. Then, once I get going and get into the flow, the time seems irrelevant and I stay on my mat longer than I expected and end up feeling great.

Inspiration Leads to Intention

I want to inspire you all to set an intention each and every day to take care of yourself in the best way you know how. It may be sitting for 5 minutes in meditation or going for a walk outside, or maybe you will deepen your yoga practice and increase the time you spend practicing asana or pranayama. Maybe you take some time to sit down and read something inspirational or write in a journal. I’d also like to invite you to set a common intention that this will be the year to be more grateful for the blessings we have and to acknowledge those blessings daily. Tell the people in your life that you love them now.

Hope to see you in class!


Nicki Doane