Ready to flip intention-setting on its head? Here, yoga teacher and Desire Map life coach Danielle March shows us how Danielle LaPorte's system uses body and soul as a road map to figure out what we want and how to make it happen.
When we set out to fulfill an ambitious goal, we’ll set up tiny achievable steps meant to get us there. Whether we’re en route to a promotion or King Pigeon pose, we hustle to meet one milestone and then we’re on to the next. With our eye on the big prize, we can miss the joy or celebration along the way. And that’s if we can slice through the external noise, from expectations to social media, and identify what it is that we want in the first place.
There’s a better approach, assures Danielle March, yoga teacher and master Desire Map coach. “The Desire Map, created by Danielle LaPorte, seeks to identify how we want to feel instead of what we want to achieve. The premise is that we’re actually chasing a feeling—not an accomplishment. We’re banking on how we think getting or taming that goal will make us feel,” says March. “If we were clear about that first, we could make every day our best day.” Pick up your journal and use March's Desire Map-inspired techniques to help you connect to and manifest your desires. Ready? Go get it.
"We're chasing a feeling—not an accomplishment. If we were clear about that, we could make every day our best day."
How to Get in Touch with Your Soul’s Desires
Ask yourself, How do I want to feel in the next year?
“Whether you have one or a handful of words or intentions with which you’d like to work, you just want to get crystal clear on the physical emotion you’d like to invite in this year,” says March. (Fun fact: Her core feeling is radiant.)
Declare your “Sacred No.”
“Of course we should take a look at what isn’t working and what we’re willing to change, and make that declaration,” says March. “Keep it simple, and don’t allow yourself to go down the road of shame, blame or making excuses. Just pinpoint one or two things that become your ‘Sacred No.’”
Affirm your “Sacred Yes.”
Paying attention to and (and playing up) the stuff that is working right now is just as powerful. “Recognizing the things you’re doing that fill you up brings you into a place of gratitude and helps you figure out what you want more of,” says March.
Now, the most important part: Drop into your own body.
Once you’ve identified and journaled your core feelings, Sacred No and Sacred Yes, resist the urge to rehash the material in your head. The work is in trying to feel each component in your body. Does your core feeling render you open and confident? Do you experience your Sacred No through muscle contractions, trouble breathing, anxiety or heat building in the body? Does Sacred Yes instill a deep sense of peace, elation, flexibility or bodily relaxation? “The body knows before the mind does,” says March. “The more we can make that mind-body connection—this is what Yes feels like, this is what No feels like—it becomes less about judging, analyzing and figuring things out. You just start trusting your body to tell you what feels soulful and what doesn’t.”
Daily Practices to Embody Your Intention
Awaken with your words.
Whatever you decide is the way you’d like to feel this year, awaken each morning, and before you do anything else, write them down. “When you do this first thing in the morning, you’re inviting your attention to land on your intention before you start your day,” March says.
Crowd out No with Yes.
When you’re drifting into the state of feeling “no,” you can learn to instantly shift your focus (and body) to the state of "yes." With just a little prep work, March’s method helps you bounce back into a positive state. “Create a go-to list of simple things that generate your intention or desired core feelings, then pick something from the list you can do right in the moment,” says March. “My list includes things like having a bath, the luxurious experience of lathering myself with coconut oil, splurging on that $10 green drink, donating some well-loved clothing to someone in need or reading a chapter before bed. They are easy ways to connect with the way I want to feel.”
Share your intention.
If you’re serious about moving toward an intention, invite people to support you on your journey. Share your intention with a partner or trusted friend—and give them some instructions. “Not only can they give you a loving nudge if you fall off track, they can hold you accountable. Have them ask you how a decision makes you feel,” says March. “And when you’re really stuck? They should ask you what ‘yes’ would feel like instead.”
Need more support? Danielle March is facilitating two Desire Map workshops called Creating Goals with Soul at Yoga Journal LIVE! New York, April 8–11. You’ll blend extensive journaling exercises with a Yin yoga practice to create space in your body to embody your desires—and integrate them into your way of being. Don’t miss it—sign up now.
Danielle March is a Toronto-based RYT-500 yoga teacher, life coach, and licensed Desire Map facilitator. She fiercely advocates finding balance in all things body, mind and spiritual essence so that you have space to follow through with inspired action as you transition off the yoga mat. Originally drawn to her own mat by the strong and graceful movements of vinyasa yoga, she later fell in love with the stillness and meditative aspects of Yin Yoga. She is the visionary behind Live on Purpose, a modern yoga teacher training program that combines the yin and yang aspects of yoga with the underlying current of transformational work. As a devoted lifelong student of yoga and meditation, Danielle is also a curator of inspiration and offers guided meditations, workshops, retreats, and private coaching. Learn more and connect at daniellemarch.com and her Facebook page.