4 weeks of intentions to prepare for 2017

The new year is just three weeks away.

2016 has been a doozy, guys. But we've almost made it.

It seems like New Year's Day comes so quickly. We're so focused on Christmas. Santa comes and goes and then we take a nap only to wake up and think, "OH SHOOT WHAT AM I DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE?"

We haphazardly set some kind of resolution because this is America and that's what we do.

Then two weeks later that resolution fades because this is America and that's what we do.

Not this year. This year, I'm preparing. Probably because 2016 was a doozy and I don't want a repeat.

In my classes and in my own practice for the next few weeks, we'll be reflecting on 2016 as well as setting intentions for the next year. I wrote out a rough outline of what that looks like for me and thought I would share here in case you'd like to be more prepared this year, too.

2017 won't sneak up on us! Ha!

3 weeks until the new year: Abundance and gratitude

It's no secret that 2016 was rough for most of us. And still, gratitude. This week, set an intention of gratitude. Meditate on the word "abundance" and take inventory of all the wonderful things and people that have come into your life over the past year. Find gratitude for what you've learned about yourself this year and the growth you've experienced. Hell, even think about your yoga poses and how much progress you've made in that one arm balance that used to seem impossible.

On the mat:

  • Heart openers to create space for experiencing gratitude


2 weeks until the new year: Let go of the past

Now we turn to what we consider the more "negative" parts of last year. Writing can really help here. Consider those moments you felt the lowest. The mistakes you made. Where you went wrong. List them out. And then take it deeper. What did those events make you feel about yourself and your character? Write these out in short sentences.

I am a failure.
I am not good enough.
I am unlovable.

These mantras you've been carrying are holding you back and suppressing your power. So let go of them.

Letting go means facing them, which is the tough part. I try to reflect on them without judgment and imagine I'm watching them like my life were a film. This helps me to have perspective and not let my mind morph the truth.

Now, here's the fun part. Burn them. Take your paper with all those nasty lies you've been feeding yourself and literally burn it (safely outside, please!). Release them into the universe. They don't serve you moving forward and it's time to let them go.

On the mat:

4 weeks of intentions to prepare for 2017
  • Hamstring stretches because they energetically store those negative past experiences
  • Hips to release stored trauma
  • Twists to detox your mind and let go


1 week until the new year: Set your sankalpa

Now that we've let that go (doesn't it feel lighter?) we have created space for our new intention. Think about your typical New Year's resolutions. You know, those ones we set last minute and keep for two weeks because America. Usually for me these are f̶i̶t̶n̶e̶s̶s̶ get skinny oriented.

I will lose 10 pounds.
I will hit the gym every day.
I will eat clean. Whatever that means.

Sankalpa is Sanskrit for "will, purpose or determination." It's the yogi's resolution and it requires you to go below the surface of your goals. Consider your "typical" resolutions and explore what's behind them.

What I love about a sankalpa is that the Failure Demon isn't waiting for you to stumble. There is no stumble because it's an intention, not a measurable goal. It asks for mindfulness that stems from a place of self-love, not "willpower" that stems from a place of self-hate.

Write down your sankalpa based on your initial resolution. Here are examples based on the ones above.

I will lose 10 pounds.
I find myself sabotaging my weight loss efforts by having an all-or-nothing attitude. My intention is to be mindful of this mentality and strive to have some self-compassion and take a more balanced approach.

I will hit the gym every day.
I find myself sitting on the couch every night because by the time I get home I'm exhausted. Then I beat myself up about not going to the gym. My intention is to be more aware of my body's needs, giving my body rest instead of TV when that's what it really needs.

Eat clean. Whatever that means.
I find myself eating unhealthy foods when I'm stressed. My intention is to be more conscious of this urge and let it come and go.

Those second options seem a bit friendlier, yeah? They're deeper. Because you're a human. You're frackin' deep.

On the mat:

  • Lots of meditation
  • Restorative poses that encourage you to dig deep
  • Third eye chakra work to tap into your intuition


Happy New Year! Use your sankalpa

Oh hey, 2017! You're ready. You've reflected on the past, giving space to the abundance and setbacks the year brought, and set a beautiful intention for 2017 from a loving place.

Now it's time to celebrate that intention by putting it into action. Come back to it every day. Meditate on it, decorate your house with post-it notes to remind yourself of it, do whatever works for you to keep it on your mind.

When you do resort back to old habits, because you're human, it's OK. Your sankalpa is an intention. The fact that you recognize that you slipped means you're being more mindful. Go you!

On the mat:

  • Core work to embrace your power
  • Inversions for new perspective

Here's to a new year, new intentions and new space to fill with abundance. Here's to 2017. May it look good on all of us.