- in Mind
At the beginning of class, when the teacher asks you to set a yoga intention, does your mind race from idea to idea, evaluating an array of thoughts in hopes of choosing one that will magically change your life over the next hour of class?
Mine has. In the minute or so of intention-setting, instead of visualizing peace or love while breathing into my hands, held at the heart of course, I’ve sometimes haphazardly run through sentences, paragraphs even, about things I’m working on or how I’d like to feel.
Then, class begins as I frantically pick some random idea that sometimes resonates and sometimes doesn’t. No matter, I usually forget the thing in 30 seconds anyway unless reminded by the teacher.
This might not unfold how it’s supposed to, but for me, this has been the reality on more than one occasion. No more. Teacher training has finally unveiled a simple, effortless method of setting a yoga intention that can, over time, profoundly impact your life as an intention is supposed to.
Why is setting a yoga intention important?
The power of yoga lies in applying the mind to the union of body and breath. Without this portion, we’re engaging in a highly beneficial physical activity, but not yoga as the gurus intended it.
Intentions are to the mind as asana is to the body. They help us focus and allow us to welcome a higher vibration into our life.
How do I set a yoga intention for my practice?
Here are the guidelines: an intention should ideally be a short, declarative sentence that’s positive and in the present tense.
Positive means that a yoga intention should state, “I am peaceful,” or “I am peace,” instead of “I am not stressed out.” Say those sentences out loud and feel what happens to your energy.
A negatively worded intention like “I am not stressed out,” still contains the word you’re trying to transform. Our brains don’t fully accept the “not” portion, making it all too easy to continue focusing on the very thing you’re working to alleviate.
Examples of especially powerful yoga intentions include:
- I am whole
- I am healthy
- I am love
- I am light
- I am clear
- I am knowing
- I am blissful
- I am strong
- I am content
- I am fulfilled
How do I maximize the effect of setting a yoga intention?
At the beginning of every class, even if not prompted by the instructor, imprint the intention in your mind, visualizing how the desired qualities would look in your life.
If your intention is, “I am strong,” see yourself strong and healthy. If thinking, “I am content,” envision what feeling content means to you.
Throughout class, as often as you remember, repeat the intention to yourself. As you move through the postures, the intention begins to shift cellular memories and mind habits, sinking deeper into your souls and increasing the potential for change.
But don’t let the yoga intention stop at the edges of your mat! Let the intention be your prayer. Say it throughout your day, returning to the breath whenever you have a moment, and repeating the intention. Breathe it in and absorb the benefits of transformative energy.
Do I need a new yoga intention every practice?
No! You can keep the same intention and work with it for as long as we like. Intentions have the most powerful benefit when we return to them every day for a longer period, such as 21 days or a month. Keep the intention for as long as it serves you.
What are your experiences with setting yoga intentions?