When people first start practicing yoga, it’s often to incorporate more mobility or flexibility in their lives. They roll out their mats at the beginning of each yoga session and go through the poses led by the instructor. They roll up their mats at the end of the session and leave, often feeling more relaxed and loose. Rarely do people set intentions at the beginning of the class, which is something the instructor says to do.
Most yoga teachers invite students to set intentions before beginning the session. It may seem like a bunch of nonsense, but establishing an intention only benefits the experience. Setting an intention can deepen the practice, helping you establish a better mind-body connection. An intention doesn’t simply exist during the practice; rather, it extends to life after the yoga session concludes. How can you apply what you focused on during the yoga session to life? Is it possible to be more open, loving, positive, or honest in life?
What Is An Intention?
An intention is a desire that you set in motion through thoughts, actions, and words. It can be as simple as a plan, purpose, or a desire for a specific end goal. Everyone has the ability to set an intention, whether they realize it or not. People have intentions without realizing them. For example, people go to work with the intention to earn a living and do the tasks at hand. Setting the right intentions can help put a plan in motion that only enhances a person’s life.
Setting an intention during a yoga session allows you to bridge what you’re doing on the mat with what you do off the mat. It’s a powerful human tool that some people never learn to use properly. An intention allows you to concentrate on a goal, and achieving said goal means you focused your words, thoughts, and actions. You see, intentions can carry power that invites more compassion, honesty, and love into your life.
How Does Intention Benefit Yoga?
Yoga can be a very personal experience, just like an intention. It’s a practice that helps people look inward and find more focus, peace, and acceptance. Intentions help you get the most out of your yoga experience. Most people seek the tranquility of yoga to break away from the modern world. Intentions help carry that tranquility back into the real world. The intention doesn’t have to be complex or difficult. It can be very simple, but the goal is to let it inspire you and motivate you to achieve your goals.
How To Set An Intention
Before the yoga practice begins, you’ll find yourself on the mat, typically sitting down in a cross-legged position. This is the time to center the self and release stress from the body. At the same time, yoga should be about self-empowerment, strength, and acceptance. There are endless options to focus on during your yoga session, so find the best intention that serves you in the moment.
Once you decide on an intention, carry it with you through the poses, being mindful of it during breath work. The best way to do this is to silently repeat it to yourself throughout the class. If you need to direct your full focus to a series of poses, remind yourself the intention when you finish. Downward dog, Chaturanga, Cobra, and Savasana poses are great opportunities to remind yourself of your intention. As a friendly reminder, your teacher may remind you to revise your intention during the class.
It may seem like a silly idea, but it’s incredibly powerful to set intentions. They can help focus the mind, promote relaxation, or calm the body. Intentions can empower your yoga class and help you feel more confident as you step off the mat. Next time you participate in a yoga class, give it a try and see how setting an intention benefits you.