One Thing to Do Every Day Of National Yoga Month (And It’s Not Even Yoga)
  • September 1, 2017
  • national yoga month

    In·ten·tion: 1. A determination to act in a certain way : resolve. 2: import, significance.

    Today marks the first day of National Yoga Month. Last year at aSweatLife, we challenged Instagram to do #yogawithaSweatLife every day as part of a contest to win a Fitbit. It got people to try more yoga and we loved it. This year, though, I’m taking on a different kind of challenge, one that doesn’t involve social media – and doesn’t even require you to do yoga at all. This year’s National Yoga Month challenge takes a step back to what yoga is all about: intention.

    We know from research on setting goals that taking on too much at once makes accomplishing goals far more difficult. Take dieting, for example. We know that restricting certain meals or calories tends to backfire; we end up feeling down that we couldn’t succeed in our goal and backslide further in the opposite direction.

    If you set one intention for the month, odds are you’ll have moments, days, maybe even weeks when you feel like you totally missed the mark on keeping up with that intention. Instead, each day of September, try out setting one new intention each day. Let it be your guide, but just for the day. When that day is over, so is that intention. Wipe the slate clean and start fresh again the next morning.

    Whether you practice yoga or not, the exercise of setting an intention – a goal – relates to everyone in some way. Say you’re running through email after email, skipping from meeting to meeting and writing brief upon brief during a busy day at work; you look at the clock and somehow it’s already 6 pm. You ask yourself, “Where did this time go, and what did I actually accomplish today?” The scenario has been all too familiar to me on some days. It’s in moments like this that I have to ask, “What brings me back to the center?” And that’s my intention.

    When you get back to your intention, you relate all your actions, reactions, interactions with others and side conversations with yourself to the significance they carry and how they stack up to your intention. Take the exercise of setting a daily intention and use it as your source for grounding – the thing that brings you back to center – every day this month.

    And the best part about this challenge is you don’t actually have to do anything different with your routine – simply apply your daily intention to however you go about it.

    So how do I start?

    Take 15 minutes to write down words that feel meaningful, impactful, resonate with you or are just some of your favorite words to say and hear. If you don’t have 30 right away, don’t worry.

    Some of my favorite words are quintessential yoga words (i.e. “grounded”), while others are a bit bizarre (i.e. “dynamic”).

    On September 1, select one word at random.

    Regardless of how well the words might fit into a prescribed “intention” and regardless of how you might be feeling on a particular day, select a word at random to start each day.

    Use that word to lead you in the choices you make from start to finish – from the way you get dressed for work, to the way you deliver feedback to a co-worker, to what you say when you call your mom at night.

    Does the word have to be random?

    It doesn’t. But sometimes the lessons that stick best in our brains come out of seemingly nowhere.

    Randomizing the words every day will keep things fresh and might help you discover something new about yourself you might not have been looking for.

    At the end of the day, reflect on how the intention shaped your day.

    Was it all positive? Was some of it more positive? What didn’t turn out so great? And what did you learn about yourself? You can write it down or just spend a few minutes at the close of each day noticing how your intention helped shape your day and what you’d like to get from a guided word tomorrow.

    Repeat every day this month.

    My first word of September is “trust.” September 2, I’ll have a new word and a new intention for the day. If you’d like to take part in my daily intentions, follow along with this post on aSweatLife or me – or create your own words and mantras as you go from day to day all National Yoga Month long.

    September 1: Trust

    September 2: Simplicity

    September 3: Stormless

    September 4: Connectedness 

    September 5: Joy

    September 6: Resolve

    September 7: Luminous

    September 8: Purposeful

    September 9: Inspired

    September 10: Available

    September 11: Grounding

    September 12: Compassion

    September 13: Commitment  

    September 14: Possibility 

    September 15: Ease

    September 16: Drive

    September 17: Forgiving

    September 18: Resilience

    September 19: Concreteness

    September 20: Happy

    September 21: Collaborative

    September 22: Creativity

    September 23: Non-attachment 

    September 24: Dedication

    September 25: Patience

    September 26: Surrender

    September 27: Present

    September 28: Authentic

    September 29: Brave

     

    What are your daily intentions? Let us know in the comments! 

    About Maggie Umberger

    Maggie moved to Chicago in 2014 from North Carolina, a proud Tar Heel at heart. She began her career in advertising but was equally passionate about her fitness endeavors, and ended up spending as much time instructing yoga and other types of fitness as much as in her advertising job. Now she works full-time with aSweatLife to continue to grow our community of amazing fellow fitness junkies in Chicago. And when she’s not running around with Jeana making #Sweatworking happen or instructing corporate and private yoga classes, you can find her leading bootcamp classes at ENRGi Fitness and vinyasa classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga and Yoga Six.