I’m not going to lie: sitting quietly in my room whispering “shanti” felt a little weird at first. On Day 1, I meditated right after waking up, which I don’t think is the best choice for me … I ended up nodding off to sleep a little bit (I guess that means it was relaxing though, huh?). I meditated a bit later in the day on Day 2, and that worked out a little better. I’ll admit it, I didn’t get around to meditating on Day 3 – I was just really, really busy. These things happen, though, and I wasn’t going to let that derail my plans to form a new healthy habit. I got back on the bus on Wednesday, and I actually had a bit of a breakthrough.
I noticed that actually listening to the sound of my voice was extremely meditative. Even though I explained on this blog that the meaning of our mantras isn’t important, I guess I didn’t really understand what that meant at first. It wasn’t until Day 4 that I started allowing the sound of my own voice to relax me, and this moment of insight has carried me all the way through the rest of the week.
So now it’s on to Week 2: Intention Meditation
What’s the Difference Between a Mantra and an Intention?
Last week, I touched a little bit on the difference between a mantra an an intention. While a mantra is meant to be repeated quietly to one’s self as a vehicle to reach a meditative state, an intention is chosen with deliberation and attention to its meaning.
I’m sure you’ve had your yoga teacher tell you to set an intention before practice. This is the same concept, only its applied to meditation. In my yoga practice, I usually enjoy picking an intention that I carry throughout the entire week (or longer, if necessary). It’s usually something I’m working through or thinking about a lot at the time. For example, if I notice that I’ve been particularly angry with someone, I spend a week or two focusing on forgiveness as my intention (ahem, this is what I’m going to be focusing on this week!). Some weeks, I focus on gratitude. Other weeks, self-confidence.
Examples of Intentions
Most practitioners recommend forming your intention as an affirmation. In other worse, you say it in a positive sense, as if it’s already occurred. Here are some examples of intentions that may resonate with you.
- My body is strong and perfect as it is.
- I am loved.
- I respect my body by fueling it with nutrients (this could be a good intention for those on a weight loss program).
- I am grateful for my family.
- I am grateful for my friends.
- I love ___ (you could be picking a person to whom you want to send happiness and positive energy).
- I forgive ____ (again, you could be inserting a person here).
- I am worthy of healthy relationships.
- I bring peace and joy to those around me.
- The world is full of good.
Again, you can set your intention every day, or work on one intention all week long – it’s really up to you.
After you pick your intention, you’ll sit in a meditative stance (again, cross-legged, in lotus, lying in savasana, and sitting in a chair are all great choices), close your eyes, and inhale and exhale. Repeat your intention on your exhale a few times, just as you did with your mantra. However, after focusing on your intention for a few breaths, let it go.
The goal here is to surrender your intention to the universe. Focus instead on your breath moving in and out of your body, filling you up with warmth. You could use any of the meditation techniques I’ve mentioned previously, or you could move back into your mantra meditation – whatever you wish. At the end of your session, bring your attention back to your intention again and acknowledge it. And then, when you leave your meditation practice, let it go completely.
Let me know how you enjoy intention meditation! See you next week. <3