This will be short. I've just incorporated a kind of tone setting intention into the beginning of my practice, a personal mantra/dedication. It's a little cheesy and vague on the face of it: "no victims." But it has been serving me well in practice and off the mat. In fact, it has kind of become the bridge between the two realms.
Obviously, I'm not the first to use a mantra to start my practice. But when I thought of what I'd like to use, sanskrit or otherwise, this is what bubbled to the surface. Humble Husband and I are buying a house, and feel kind of at the mercy of inspectors, brokers, contractors, etc; so setting the intention of not being a victim has been really important. Also, mothering a toddler is kind of kicking my butt right now. I need to remember that Terrible Toddler and I are on the same team: he is not my enemy. And in my ashtanga practice, I need to remember not to be a whiny girl, a victim of my own biology, thinking, "I can't do jump backs, I'm too weak in my upper body and I'm tiiiiiiiiired..." This practice serves me, and vice versa. This is my choice and I will deal with each issue and challenge as it arises. I can tell that I'm getting into a weepy victim place easily enough; it manifests physically as a sloppy drishti. So I tidy it up, focus my eyes and pull myself together, and off I fly.
Finally, it's kind of a non personally specific mantra, my way of offering this intention outward: "no victims," means not me, not you, not anyone. It makes this both personal therapy, and service (at least I'm flattering myself into thinking that my physical prayer is making a tiny dent in the cosmos).
Now that you are out of your brief hiatus: how do you set the tone when you step on the mat?
And btw, are you ever going to call me out on my cardio fixation??? ;)