When the teacher invites you to set an intention at the beginning of a yoga class, and you feel a bit lost or overwhelmed, don’t worry, you are not alone! Many people draw a blank when they are asked to set an intention. Yet, setting an intention in class can present you with an opportunity to delve deeper into your practice. An intention can help you to take what you learn and feel on the mat, off the mat and into the world. By focusing on an intention, we breathe life into our practice.
What is an intention?
Simply put, an intention helps to bring awareness toward an attitude, quality or virtue that you wish to cultivate during your practice, and in life. In yogic philosophy, it is believed that an intention comes from our higher self – the very core of our being. Intention setting connects us to a deeper version of ourselves by helping us define how we want to feel in our practice and the virtues and qualities we wish to manifest.
Steps to setting an intention in class:
1. Ask yourself the following questions: Why am I practicing yoga? What brought me to class today? What do I hope to feel throughout my practice?
2. Think of a simple, positive sentence or word. The word or sentence reflects the change you want in your life. For example, your intention could be “I am living in positivity this year” or “I wish to be more loving and compassionate.” Make sure your statement or word is simple so you can repeat it before and during your practice.
Some ideas for your intentions: focusing on breath, relaxation, living in the present, fostering positivity, manifesting love and compassion, letting go, gratitude, speaking your truth, empathy. Please note that these are examples; make sure that your intention is what you need in the moment.
3. Concentrate on your intention throughout your practice. At the end of the practice invite yourself to bring the intention off the mat and into your life. If you forget your intention throughout your practice, don’t worry- let it go! You will have many other opportunities to include it in your future practice.
Most importantly, just remember to keep your intention simple. Intentions are about checking in with yourself in both your practice and your life. They don’t have to be complicated! Simply, chose a word or phrase, concentrate on it, and you will soon find a deeper connection to yourself.