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Setting Intentions For Your Yoga Practice

yoga-intentions

One of the many wonderful things about yoga is that no two classes are ever the same. And, what’s more, the way that each students experiences a class will also be completely different.

We are all unique when it comes to how our bodies flow through each session, and how deep we are able to move into each pose. Another thing that is individual to each of us when it comes to yoga, is what our intentions are for each practice that we engage in.

At the very beginning of each yoga class, your teacher might ask you to set an intention for the session. This will always of course be optional, but it can be a fantastic thing to get into that habit of doing.

Setting Intentions?

In the context of yoga, these intentions are known as Sankalpa. The purpose of embracing this concept is to bring more meaning and mindfulness into each class, and also into our lives.

When we ask our minds to consider what these intentions might be, then we are giving time to that which is truly important to us. We allow ourselves the luxury of contemplating what will make us happy, and what we wish to prioritise.

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Your intention may be something that you wish to give your energy to during the actual yoga session. For example, you might want to remind yourself to focus on your breathing, or to keep your mind solely on the task at hand.

Your intention can also be something that applies to your life in a larger way. For example, you may wish to try harder to be patient, or to be kind. You may want to give more of your time and attention to your loved ones, or to find more significant ways to support them. You might also want to try harder to practice forgiveness — both to people in your life and also towards yourself.

Your may find that a similar intention comes to mind with each new yoga class, and that this is something that evolves slowly over time. On the other hand, your intentions might be different from one day to the next.

How To Set Your Intention

When you set an intention for your yoga practice, you will usually do this at the beginning of the class. This can be something that you think about in your mind and keep just for yourself. Or it might be something that you are invited to share with the rest of the class.

As you begin to think about what your intention might be, focus your attention on your breath, and breathe deeply in and out through your nostrils. Encourage your mind to be still, and shake all unwanted distractions away.

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You may find that an intention instantly comes to mind. If this is the case, then you can then allow these thoughts to process and develop for a few moments as you continue with your deep breathing. If it takes you a little longer then that’s also totally okay!

Once you have your intention, hold it firmly in your mind and give it your full attention. Form a sentence or two that captures your intention and then repeat this sentence to yourself, either in your mind or out loud.

Some examples are:

“I will learn to forgive myself and those who have harmed me”

“I will always be kind in all of my interactions with others”

“I will start each day with an open heart and prioritise peace”

“I will give the following yoga session my best effort and full attention”

Honouring Your Intention

As you work your way through your yoga class, try to bring your attention back to your intention and to repeat it to yourself in your mind often. This is also something you can aim to do throughout the rest of the day after your class.

When you continue to remind yourself of this thing, then you will give more prominence and power to it!

Beyond Yoga

Setting intentions is something that I encourage you to do in your life beyond the yoga mat, and can actually be a wonderful way to start each day.

When you engage with this practice in the morning, then you are giving yourself some positive guidance for the day ahead. This is something that will stay on your mind, and can therefore shape your decisions.

At the end your day, you can spend some time meditating on your intention and processing all of the ways in which it influenced your behaviour and actions. Not only can this help you to live each day in closer alignment with the person you truly are, but it can also help you to feel gratitude and appreciation for the live that you are living.

Get Inspired

Switching up your approach to yoga is a great way to develop your practice and get to know your capabilities better. Setting intentions is one such way to do this, and there are of course other ways! Through my weekly newsletter, I always aim to share my top tips with you!

Click to sign up to my Get Inspired Newsletter and receive a weekly dose of inspiration and motivation to your inbox.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I use morning journaling to help with setting intentions. I feel like sometimes you have to organize the thoughts enough before you get into the goal setting – which is what setting intentions is all about.

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