6 Poses for Fulfilling New Year’s Intentions
Sometimes at the start of a group yoga asana or meditation practice, the teacher will invite students to set an intention for their time together. Through the trials and tribulations, we’ve made it to a new year, and, indeed, things haven’t changed overnight, but what has changed for some is the feeling of a fresh start or the excitement that change & growth can bring.
You may have heard that intention setting can be powerful, but how can setting intentions become a useful tool for daily life?
We can use our intentions to create a roadmap for the day, week, month, or year. By getting intentional about goals and how you want to feel, you may notice more rapid results and growth.
To start, find a comfortable seat, preferably on a cushion or blanket, and close the eyes or find a gentle gaze. Turn inward and center yourself by taking a cleansing breath followed by three deep breaths. As you breathe, think about how you want to feel this year, areas you want to grow in, parts of yourself you want to explore, and notice what comes to mind. After a few minutes, call in an inspiring word, phrase, or mantra.
Repeat it to yourself silently three times and when you feel balanced and connected to your intention, try the following sequence of poses for fulfilling New Year’s intentions.
From your seated position, cross at the shins to find Easy Pose – Sukhasana. Then, place your hands on your knees and then slide them back slightly so they rest on your thighs. Inhale as you circle your torso around your legs in one direction and exhale when your belly is hollowed out towards the back of your mat. Repeat six times and then switch directions.
Cat & Cow – Durga-Go
Get into an all-fours position on the hands and knees. Find a soft gaze over the tip of your nose and inhale as you tilt your tailbone and gaze up. Now, exhale as your round your crown towards the ground and tuck your tailbone. Find breath to movement between these two poses for ten breaths.
Begin to move freely, circling the hips, shifting forward and back. Get creative and move your spine in all directions for six breaths.
Childs Pose – Balasana
Find your center in an all-fours position, widen the thighs, bring big toes to touch, and stretch your arms forward as the forehead comes down. Breath and recall your intentions.
*Feel your body on the earth, including your forehead, third-eye chakra, and center for knowing. Notice what comes up and send yourself some encouragement for the year ahead.
Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Savasana
Return to all fours, place your hands one hands print distance in front of you and come up into down-dog. Shake out your head, take three breaths in stillness, then lift one leg and bring it through your hands, stamping it down with front heel to back arch alignment for Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II. Bend into your front knee, heel over the ankle, and extend your arms into a T. Turn your gaze over your front hand and breathe.
*Notice the strength in your arms and legs as you breathe and recall your New Year’s Intentions here.
After a few breaths, cartwheel your hands to frame your front foot, step back into down-dog and repeat your Warrior II on the second side. Then, return to down-dog.
*Take note if this down-dog feels a bit different, then drop to hands and knees and take a seat.
Come to recline and bring the soles of your feet together for
Bound Angle – Supta Badho Konasana. Let your knees widen to the sides and rest your upper body and arms on the earth. Take ten breaths, allowing some of them to be cleansing breaths through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, especially if something is processing.
*This hip and groin opener targets the root chakra to ground us firmly in our bodies.
When you feel ready, bring your hands to your outer thighs and help your legs stretch out straight. Let go of everything and relax into your Savasana.
Psst! Taking 5 – 10 minutes to journal about your New Year’s intentions when you wake up from savasana can solidify this practice.
Written for Pilgrimage Yoga by Kara Willingham