You may have heard your teacher suggest you set an intention at the start of class, but what does this mean? Perhaps you’ve glossed over this bit, not really sure what it meant or perhaps this has come to be a nice way to set the stage for your practice that day. Either way, it’s worth a thought as setting intentions can be quite powerful and can be something that moves with you through the day, long after you’ve left your yoga mat.
What is intention setting?
Intention setting can have many purposes depending on how you’re approaching your yoga practice that day.
- A chance to focus the mind on something very particular to help provide calm before you start your practice.
- Summon up positive feelings including gratitude, hope, compassion & kindness to set the tone for your practice.
- Using the powerful energy generated during yoga to access your deepest hopes and dreams.
- It can be a very specific intention for the practice itself or it can have wider reaching focus, on your community or humanity as a whole.
How to set intentions?
- Don’t overthink it.
- Use the first thing that comes to your mind as you sit on your mat.
- If your mind is active, pick something very specific to prevent additional mental dialogue.
- Encourage a sentiment of kindness and compassion to both yourself and others.
- Make the intention clear and memorable in your mind.
- During the class you can use your intention to refocus your mind and move through more challenging aspects of your practice. Again, promoting the feelings of kindness & compassion towards yourself.
- Remove any attachment to the outcome of your intention.
- Finally, as you seal your practice after Savasana you can remind yourself of the intention with a quiet acknowledgement to keep it with you as you move through your daily life.
Examples of themes for intentions
I will focus on my breath during practice.
I will be kind to my body as we move through difficult asanas or transitions.
I will endeavour to use kind communication with my family.
I will use my skills to help my local community.
I will follow my heart when making decisions about my career.
I will focus my energy during this practice on peace in troubled areas.
I will carry gratitude for my friends with me through my day.