Ok so here’s the scenario, you’re new to yoga and you really want to take a class. You enter the room unsure and self conscious. You arrive to your mat and begin to breath. You’re starting to relax just as your instructor tells you to shut your eyes down and set and intention for your practice. You start to have a mini panic attack. What does this mean? Why should I set an intention? I’m just here to stretch after all. I’ll tell you.
Setting an intention is very important. As an instructor I almost always ask my students to set an intention. Your yoga practice is so much more than getting a good workout in. It’s where you find yourself. It’s where you leave all of your stress and tension. It’s where you are truly free. Intentions are small mini goals or word of affirmation just for you. They can be a million things but I will list a few for you to ponder over. Here are a few personal intentions:
- I am strong
- I am worthy
- I can do this
- I am brave
- I am beautiful (which you are!)
- I am enough
- I will not falter
- I am peaceful
- I am kind
- I have patience
- I am happy
- I am not going to be self conscious
- I am comfortable with who I am
You can also set focus intentions for yourself. A few example of those would be:
- focus on inhales
- focus on exhales
- length of inhales and exhales
- practicing ujjayi breath (audible breath that comes from the throat)
- I will hold the pose for as long as I can
- I will try the up modifications (IF you feel like you are ready but nervous to try because you haven’t done it before)
- I will deepen my meditation
Intentions are a powerful tool to have in your repertoire during practice. They can move you and shape you. They can give you a sense of accomplishment. A feeling of gratitude and send positive vibes all over at the end of your practice. They make you feel confident. They give you power. Still don’t believe me? Take 2 classes. Set an intention for your first class and don’t set an intention for your second class. Take the same class from the same instructor (I know a lady that teaches pretty awesome classes…) and see how you feel. You WILL notice a difference within yourself.
If you are set on intentions, GREAT! That’s awesome! How about setting a dedication? Dedicating your practice can be so powerful. I’m a firm believer of positivity and vibes. Vibes of all kinds. Have you been in a blasé mood and walked into a room full of happy people? You instantly started feeling better didn’t you? Or how about if you are in a good mood and you enter a room full of pissed of people? They steal your vibes. Vibes can be sent and received. There is power in positivity. You can dedicate yourself to people or situations to make the world better. Yesterday I dedicated my practice to the people of Syria. I thought about them during my whole practice and sent as much love and positive energy that I could muster their way. It’s a small way of sending love. Of BEING the love. For an hour you simply flow with energy. You can dedicate your practice to someone you know that is hurting, someone who is in need of something that isn’t material. You grow your heart.
This is where you find yourself during yoga. This is where your soul opens up and reveals itself to you. You might have an intention or a dedication in mind before you enter the studio but notice that it has changed the second that you unroll your mat. The universe will tell you what you need, what it needs. It’s up to us to be the light. The good. The love of the world. Let’s spread love. Let’s be those positive vibes that this world so desperately needs. You are loved. YOU ARE LOVED. By me and by this beautiful world.