Setting an intention for your yoga class is an important part of your practice. It gives you something to focus on throughout the class, and can be used to bring you back into focus if you get distracted or if your mind begins to wander. Setting a powerful and purposeful intention at the beginning of your practice will help you to create a connection between the work that you do on your mat and how you carry out the rest of your day. It serves as a reminder of the qualities you want to embody as you move through your day.
Your yoga teacher will likely ask you to set your intention right at the beginning of class. To do so, find stillness in your mind and body. Next, focus on your breathing, using steady breaths in and out through your nose. Then bring your awareness to a positive quality or virtue that you want to cultivate in your day. You can focus on a single word, or think of a positive phrase or mantra. If your mind starts to wander during class, come back to that intention. Repeat the mantra until you feel focused again.
Below are four positive intentions that you can personalize and use during your next yoga class.
I have an open heart.
This is a great option if you feel like you need to be a little more open and accepting of something or someone in your life. Whether it’s a life situation or a relationship with a specific person that you want to be more accepting of, focusing on this intention will serve as a powerful reminder that your heart has an infinite capacity for love of yourself and others.
I am balanced in mind and body.
Our minds and bodies are connected in so many ways. Research has shown that our mental state can positively or negatively affect biological functioning. Our bodies use hormones and neurotransmitters to build connections between our nervous, endocrine and immune systems. There’s also a significant connection between stress and anxiety and gut health. So if you’re feeling physically imbalanced, focus on this intention to bring your mind and body together in harmony.
I am aware.
Do you ever feel like you rush through your days so quickly that life is just sort of happening to you? Have you ever gotten part way through your work commute and realized that you don’t even remember taking the last exit because you were so consumed in your mental to-do list? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of daily life that we aren’t even aware of our surroundings. If you can relate, this intention might be for you. Whether you want to be more aware of how you spend your time during the day, what you say to others or the food that you’re putting into your body, you can use this intention to bring more awareness into your day.
I am forgiving.
Remember all that talk about the mind-body connection? Holding a grudge can be toxic emotionally and can wreak havoc on your physical body. It can contribute to anxiety, stress and fatigue that will leave you feeling negative, worn out and exhausted at the end of the day. If there’s something in your life that you just can’t seem to let go of, whether it’s an issue or interaction from long ago or a recent argument with a spouse or co-worker, holding onto that interaction is having a negative effect on your health. You can focus your intention on forgiveness in the general sense, or be more specific to your situation. Either way, you’ll leave class feeling more open and forgiving towards yourself and others.
As you move throughout class, keep your intention close to your heart. As you cool down at the end of class, take a few final moments to meditate on your intention. Solidify it in your heart and mind so it stays with you throughout your day. Do you have a favorite mantra or intention that you use often? We’d love to hear about it! Drop a comment below or share it with us on Facebook.