By Jasmine Almeida, Owner of Yogalastics

Before every yoga practice we begin by setting an intention. Why not take this into the world of hiking? What is an intention – or affirmation – anyway? And how do you choose one? First, it is important to understand the difference between a mantra and an intention.  Next, we’ll look at how you can incorporate some yogic elements throughout your next hike to add an element of mindfulness.

An affirmation is a specific statement that will help you to overcome negative thought patterns. It is a phrase that is true, right now in this moment. Our words have a lot of power, and it is important that we think positively. In yoga we focus on the “I am,” because we live in the present – we are not focusing on the future or the past. If you set your intention in the future, such as “One day I will be strong,” you are telling yourself that right now, in this moment, you are not strong enough. However, you are just as strong as you need to be right now! Try phrasing your intention in the present, confirming that right now you are right where you need to be.

A mantra is typically a more spiritual sound, such as “Om” that we repeat over and over during a moving or still meditation.  Mantra is a Sanskrit word, ‘ma’ meaning ‘mind’ and ‘tra’ meaning ‘that which protects. It is a word, sound or a phrase that you repeat in your mind while meditating or while practicing yoga.

Working with a positive affirmation or intention can help build feelings of empowerment, happiness, calmness, and an overall feeling of contentment.  Try repeating “I am” on an inhale, and your key phrase on an exhale. This method can be helpful whether you are hiking, running, practicing a yoga flow, stretching or meditating.

It can also be helpful to repeat your intention when you want to remain calm throughout the day – maybe when you’re stuck in traffic, feeling anxious, or wanting to calm your nerves. Some people select a word or phrase that becomes comforting over time, while others may want a different one depending on the day. 

Some examples of simple intentions are:

I am strong.

I am love. 

I am okay.

I am ready.

I am calm. 

Next time you are out for a hike, consider taking a moment before you begin to set an intention. Pause, take several deep breaths, and repeat it. As you hike, if you feel your mind wondering, come back to your intention time and time again. You might stop a few times over the course of your hike to include some deep breathing, yoga stretches or balancing poses, and mindfulness. At the end of your hike, stop for a moment and return to your intention.

Adding a positive intention to your day is a wonderful way to add that sense of purpose and positivity, while staying grounded and strong.

Jasmine Almeida is a mother of 3 living in Erie, PA. She is the owner of Yogalastics, a line of yoga-inspired hair accessories that feature positive intentions. Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and is currently in the process of becoming a certified yoga teacher. Use code SPRING10 for 10% off your Yogalastics order!