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What are your intentions?

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

I know, sounds like something your parents might say to your new love interest.

But really, what ARE your intentions? Let's talk about it.


There are quite a few things that separate yoga from fitness-type classes that you may find at a gym or elsewhere. One of those things is going into your practice with an intention.


First, let's talk about what the word intention means. Back to the basics we go with Merriam-Webster...


intention (noun) in·​ten·​tion in-ˈten(t)-shən What one intends to do or bring about


Pretty simple, right? I intend to take a nap. Check. I intend to wake up without snoozing my alarm 5 times. Che....well, work in progress.


Intention in Yoga


Now, let's connect that to the yoga practice. When you come to class and lay out your mat, arrange your props, and set yourself up for centering you can simply ask yourself, "what is my intention?"


Your practice is your own, it can be extremely personal. Even though you may be moving your body similarly to others in the yoga studio, what's going on in your own mind, heart, and/or spirit, your "internal landscape," is fairly invisible to everyone.


Your intention can be a guiding light throughout your practice to help focus your mind and your heart. It can be something you can remind yourself of during the challenging or especially quiet parts of class. It's something you can take with you off of your mat, too. An intention isn't solely for the sake of yoga, it's to help us live our lives with more awareness.


The Fine Print One difference I want to highlight here is that an intention does not equal accomplishment. This is one of the hardest things to let go of in yoga. Let's say my intention was to stay present throughout class. But my mind kept wandering to my to-do lists and work and just life stuff. Do you think I failed my intention? Sure, maybe that's anyone's first reaction. But I intended to stay present. I didn't desire an accomplishment of that goal. The practice is the goal. Every time my mind wandered, I would gently remind myself of my intention. Stay present. Come back to this moment. It doesn't matter how many times your mind wanders, or your concentration breaks. Release that judgment, that sense of failure, and guide yourself back to your intention. Practice. Practice. Practice. Release your plans, let go of your goals, there is no passing or failing in yoga class. It is what it is and it is just that. Nothing more, nothing less.


Inspiration


To help you along your intention-setting journey, here are some quotes and examples you can use as inspiration:


"[An intention is] an idea or suggestion that I want to commit to during my practice." -Jennifer Yancer


"Learning to be present with yourself...does not allow space for self-judgment. When you live this way, you are practicing yoga: you are living fully." -Judith Hanson Lasater


"An intention is bringing your attention and awareness to a quality or virtue you wish to cultivate for your practice both on and off of your mat." -Ahlia Hoffman

Intention inspiring words:

Patience

Gratitude

Grace

Love

Release

Peace

Strength

Resilience

Softness

Positivity

Compassion

Do you set an intention for your yoga practice?

  • 0%Yes

  • 0%No

  • 0%No...but I'm going to start!


I hope this was helpful, and I hope you find some new inspiration and dedication to set your intention, both on and off the mat.


Just be.

-Kelly
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