What Breathing Like Darth Vader Taught Me About Intentional Living
Star Wars Yoga
I recently started going to my first yoga class. Like I’ve been twice. And I kinda love it already. I had this idea of yoga in my mind that it was a super spiritual, naked kind of activity. But it’s nothing like that.
Instead, at the beginning of the class we warm up (even though it’s about 82 degrees in the room so I’m already sweltering), and then you set your intention for the class.
She gives us a moment to think and then she asks us to exhale that intention out into the room. Also, there’s this weird thing where you’re supposed to breathe like Darth Vader, so literally everyone heaves a heavy breath of intention out together. It’s kind cool… and Star Warsy.
And that intention, whatever is it, colors the rest of the workout. We go through all kinds of slightly torturous poses, and we do the sun salutation about a million times.
As everything is winding down, the instructor asks us to recall our intention we set at the beginning of class. We are encouraged to remember it and take it with us throughout the week. Let it lead and guide us in our actions and thoughts.
Set Your Intention
This intention setting could be even more useful in our everyday lives. What if each morning, we woke up and we simply named our intention for the day, breathed it out around us and allowed it to guide us.
What if each night, we recalled that intention and used it to push us into better rest for the next day.
As this would probably look different for every person, let’s go over some examples of how you can set your intention and align your life.
Of course, one of the best ways to align your life is to practice healthy habits. Luckily, I have a free mini-course that is all about that! Drop your email below to join: 7 Practical Ways to Build Healthy Habits.
4 Ways You Can Set Your Intention and Align Your Life
Morning and Evening Prayer
Depending on what you believe, praying could be a great way for you to set your intention. Putting our attention on God at the beginning of the day naturally keeps us focused on kindness, honesty and love. And thanking Him for His guidance before you go to sleep is a reminder that he is the reason we are functioning humans.
Studies have shown that even those who do not consider themselves religious can benefit from prayer. Prayer is proven to reduce alcohol consumption, improve self-control, reduce aggression, increase forgiveness for those we pray for and increase trust between those who pray together. Prayer is also associated with better physical health and happiness.
Sounds pretty good to me.
(For easy ways to find contentment click here)
Maybe you aren’t into prayer. Well, meditation is another way to set your intention at the beginning of the day. Meditation is basically just setting aside intentional time to think and process in a distraction-free area. It doesn’t have to be long. For ten minutes in the morning, take a few deep breaths and purposefully express to yourself the type of person you want to be. You’ll be surprised at how different it makes the rest of your day.
Studies show that meditation may reduce physical pain, reduce high blood pressure, ease anxiety and depression, and help people with insomnia. It has also been shown to help people quit smoking.
Also sounds pretty good.
I’ve been journaling since I learned to write. It’s fun to look back at how goofy I was in middle school. More importantly, journaling gives you a point of reference. If you write down your intentions at the beginning of the day, when you feel you are losing your way, you can look back on your words and self-correct.
In one 2005 study, college students were asked to journal for 15-20 minutes 3 times a day. The benefits of doing so were incredible. Participants were found to have less stress, better immune system, reduced blood pressure, improved mood and working memory, better sport performance, higher grades, better friendships… I could go on, but you should just click the link and read for yourself.
Clearly, journaling will change your life.
(To find out four keystone habits that will change your life, click here)
Getting up in the morning and exercising is one of the most difficult things for me. But if you’re someone who enjoys that kind of thing, use that time to set your intention for your entire day. By default, your body will work with you more if you treat it well. And if you and your body are cooperating together, it’s easier for the rest of your day to align.
Of course, the benefits of physical exercise are endless. You can check out this link for a general overview.
Yoga, Yoga, Yoga
Who knew two sentences from a yoga instructor and a little Darth Vader breath could prompt an entire life change? Thankfully, none of these four ways to align your life are monsters to implement. They’ll take up a minute segment of your day, but the health benefits will be amazing.