Intention setting is an immensely powerful component of your practice. It creates a tie between your time on the mat and your daily life. Think of it like a spool of thread: you tie the end to your practice and carry it with you throughout the day, creating consistency and purpose, rooted in your yoga.
PYC teacher Csilla Mitchell tells us, “I usually encourage my students to set an Intention for their practice, so the time on the mat becomes a little more than just an hour of movement, but can also serve as a reminder throughout the day to pause, breath and check in”.
Your Intention is a sentiment or virtue you wish to embrace. It could be something you already have and you want to celebrate, or it could be something you’re working towards.
If you’re not used to setting Intentions Csilla suggests, “Intentions can be very powerful, but they can also be overwhelming to set. In my own practice I try to not overthink them, and usually a one-word mantra seems to drop from the heavens straight into my head and ends up being exactly the reminder, affirmation or encouragement I needed on that day. Our subconscious has a way of knowing what we need, we just need to hold space for it to let us know”.
Here are some ideas to inspire you in your next class:
- I rejoice in what I am capable of.
- I will take the time to be grounded and calm.
- I am open to trying new things, even if I fail at first.
- I forgive myself.
- I let go of expectations and embrace possibilities.
- I am filled with love.
A wonderful Intention to try is the simple and poignant “I am enough”. It is truly the best place to start: self-acceptance. Without self-acceptance, we can’t move forwards. We have to be honest and grounded with ourselves before we can start a journey of development. And it’s so important to what yoga is about: releasing negative thoughts and being open to new possibilities.
Throughout your class, hold your Intention in the centre of your mind. Use it as a mantra with your breath so that it becomes an integral part of your movements. Use it especially in the moments of stillness in a single pose. If you’re getting out of breath, return to Child’s Pose and come back to your Intention.
From this starting point, you can take you Intention into your day. Return to it in the moments you get to yourself: perhaps while you’re making tea, or waiting for a bus, or brushing your hair. Embrace your intention as a way to deliver the benefits of yoga into every corner of your incredible opportunity at life.