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Intention Setting from the Eight Limbs of Yoga

February 15, 2017 by Gail Asbell

This year we’re looking to the eight limbs of yoga to help us choose the intentions that feel right for us. The eight limbs of yoga is an extremely complex guide to the practice. There are thousands of intentions that could be taken, but here is just a handful that we felt ring true.

‘Choose Compassion’

From Ahimsa, one of the five Yamas

Ahimsa is the practice of non-violence. Physical, mental, and spiritual. It’s the practice of compassion. When we choose compassion, we’re more likely to go into a situation with an open and loving heart. This means choosing love and compassion towards others by assuming the best in people and by being kind. But this also means we are kind to ourselves. A removal of judgment, expectation, and negative self talk.

Do the work’

From Tapas, one of the five Niyamas 

Tapas is the discipline and the fire that comes from dedication, focus, and often hard work. It’s about sitting in a place of discomfort and growing from that. When we do that work, we can become grateful when we see outcomes, we can feel accomplished, strong, and in control. It encourages us to go after the things we want rather than sitting idly by waiting for them to come to us.

‘Embrace movement’

Asana

Often we resolve to exercise a certain amount of times a week for health or weightless. This can lead to guilt when we ultimately don’t make it. If you want to bring more exercise or health into your life, simply embrace the intention of more movement. This means walking, playing with kids, going to the ocean, all count towards your intention of movement, while still increasing health and vitality.

Breathe deeply and consciously’

Pranayama

Ever wanted to feel happier, calmer, less anxious, less stressed, or free of worry? Often this starts with our breathing. When we breathe deeply and deliberately, the body gets the chance to literally slow down. Our parasympathetic nervous system can kick in allowing for the rest and digest mode of our body to be in control rather than the fight and flight mode. The moment we feel overwhelmed, anxious, upset, or busy, we can stop and take three to 10 long, deep, and deliberate breaths. It can instantly change how we feel. Ultimately decreasing those moments of stress and anxiety.

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