One of the key aspects of yoga that I really enjoy is the idea of setting an intention before your practice and then committing to taking the intuition with you through your day as you step off your mat. For me, this is where yoga truely becomes a practice of ‘self awareness’ and ‘self improvement’ rather than simply just an exercise/stretching regimen. The addition of ‘intention’ to the practice creates a profound difference on so many subtle levels.
If you want to go a little deeper, setting an intention is something that can help invite a different focus into your practice.
And as you get more familiar with setting an intention, it can become a special way you think of someone you love, send energy to someone in need, or simply honour your own efforts to build strength, develop compassion, take time for yourself.
Some wonderful, simple and widespread ideas for intentions are:
- To love and accept yourself so you can love and accept others
- To practice being non-judgmental
- To invite in softness
- To invite strength and cultivate your personal power
- To send the energy created by your practice to someone facing a health, emotional or real-world challenge
- To develop openness in your body so you can face the world with greater openness
- To dedicate your practice to people in need or a current world issue that resonates with you
So why do we do this? The reason might be different for everyone, but a bottom line is: Our thoughts are powerful and have energy. What we think we become, so if we are focusing on healthy thought patterns (intention) we begin to create healthy energy and healthy behaviours.
If you set an intention, try to check in with it from time to time during the practice.
After class you can explore carrying your intention into your day/week/life. Try writing it down after class. Or perhaps write down some quality you felt as an effect of the intention and class.
Try setting a simple but clear intention next time you engage in your practice, check in on this intention throughout your session and throughout your day. What changes, what evolves and above all how do you feel as a result?