Set Intentions

_P9A2026 You walk into your Yoga class, plop your mat down and take your comfortable cross-legged position.  Your hands go up to your heart in a prayer position.  You begin to slow down your inhalations and exhalations, then the instructor asks you to “set an intention for your practice.”  You think to yourself…what is an intention and why do i have to set one for each class?  An intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future.  Intention involves mental activities such as planning and afterthought.  The importance of setting an intention before you begin your yoga practice is to always have a goal set in mind.

Does your intention have to be the same at the beginning of every class?  Absolutely not!  Is each and every day of your life the same?  That would be nice because you wouldn’t have to put much thought into it.  But, if you’re a human being on this planet, as most of us are…you have good days and bad days.  So, as you wake up in the morning, listen to your body.  Scan your body from head to toe and see how you can make your day or the rest of your day more successful.  Listen to signs and cues outside of your body as well as in inside of your body.  A good place to start is during your morning routine.  Before thoughts of completing your to-do list start to take over and anxiety starts to rise, take a second and ask yourself what is it that you’re missing in your life right now?  What will make your day feel more complete?  As you conjure up EVERYTHING that’s going on in your head, you begin to narrow it down to one or two special intentions.

     Examples of Intentions regarding your physical self:

  • not pushing too much in each posture
  • improving your balance
  • improving transitions from posture to posture

    Examples of Intentions regarding your mental self: 

  • Letting go of your ego
  • quieting your inside thoughts
  • relieving stress

      Examples of Intentions regarding your emotional self:

  • Setting more time aside for yourself
  • being more patient to your loved ones
  • letting go of the negative and inviting the positive

Another important intention some might choose is to dedicate their practice to a loved one in need.  These may be those suffering from illness or disease, financial struggles, death in the family, etc.,  The people in your life who could use some positivity, prayers from the universe, energies from your inner self or from the other people who you surround yourself with in your class.  This will help to send out love and support when it is needed the most.  Or, you may choose to focus your intention on a loved one and their goal to graduate from Law school, etc., etc. …the possibilities are endless!  Be creative but most of all go with where your heart is leading you.

Aim to set an intention at the start of your practice and revisit it towards the end of your practice before entering into savasana.  One to two intentions is more than enough to focus on. Don’t be surprised if by the end of your Yoga class your intention has shifted and you maybe opened up some other more important areas of your life to focus on.

The journey you begin when deciding to set time aside each day to set an intention can help you tackle obstacles by keeping you more level headed.  Enjoy this journey!  You will not only learn more about yourself in the process but you may also find that taking everyday one step at a time will make you a better person to be around and a more loving and kind person to yourself and others.Written by Derina K. Wilson. Derina is passionate about yoga, pilates, gymnastics and dance. Find her on Instagram here

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