What is this mystical thing you call an “Intention?”
So, if you’ve taken one of my classes or more than likely any yoga class, you’re probably familiar with the teacher inviting you to set an intention for your practice. And maybe, you do this because you were asked to or maybe you don’t because you’re new to yoga and you don’t know or understand what setting an intention is or what it can possibly have to do with your practice for that matter. Or, perhaps you don’t know how to choose one?
An intention is simply a desire that we set into motion, similar to the thoughts we think or the plans we make every day. Perhaps you think that an intention is not really necessary to have a successful practice or maybe you think that this is for a more experienced student, many things can enter the mind when this prompt is mentioned.
Simply, an intention can be explained as a plan, a purpose or whatever you might be looking for from your practice. We all make intentions every day, all the time! Getting up and out of bed in the morning is an intention, brushing your teeth is an intention. Setting plans and goals for your day, going to your job to make money to continue to do or support things that you have or want to do in the future.
Believe it or not, an intention can set powerful actions into play in all aspects of our lives and you probably already notice how people around you act and where and what intentions they are coming from, good and bad. By setting a conscious intention in your life, you make things happen by these thoughts and desires, wanting to take better care of yourself, spend more time with your loved ones, spread love and kindness, smile more, etc.
When you come to your mat, setting an intention is a way of helping you to get the most out of your practice during your time on the mat. Whatever your intention may be, it’s meant to help you throughout your practice and your life. Setting an intention is a very personal practice and it’s different for everyone. Looking within as you begin your practice, or maybe you came to the mat already knowing what you were looking for from your time on the mat. We can be looking for peace, acceptance, kindness to ourselves and our bodies. Perhaps you make an intention to be more conscious about your breath and connecting it with your movements.
Your intention is just that yours. It can be whatever you feel you need or want it to be. An intention can help you concentrate and stay focused, blocking out other noises or student in the class, it may also motive or inspire you by giving you a positive purpose for your time on your mat.
Our time on the mat is our opportunity to become quiet, centered and wholly aware. You can make the decision as to what you need most, peace, stress relief, breath, forgiveness, etc. And, once you’ve decided on your intention, keep it with you for the entire practice. Maybe repeating it silently to yourself as you move through your practice. From time to time your teacher may also invite you to revisit your intention.
Finally, setting an intention is a very powerful tool. Intentions help us to stay focused and present in the now, calming to the body and the mind. Coming away from a practice where you’ve set an intention and stuck with it often leaves us feeling confident, empowered and pretty much able to do anything we set our minds to. Maybe, confirming that you are in control of your thoughts and desires.
So, the next time you come to your mat, I hope that you will take a pause and set an intention, stay with it through your practice and then see how that intention guided you, motivated you or inspired you. You probably won’t believe the difference it can make both on and off your mat.
I wish you all well and please continue to let your love light shine everywhere you go!