Thursday, 18 May 2017

Beginners' guide to setting an intention

Often at the start of a yoga class you will hear a teacher invite you to set an intention for your practice, a word or a phrase that indicates what you need from that practice.  

A good place to start is to take a few quiet minutes a the beginning of your practice, and before you set your intention.  Take your awareness away from what has been happening before your practice and direct your awareness to what is happening at that moment in your body and in your mind. Notice your energy levels and your emotional state. You might want to spend a few minutes consciously relaxing each part of your body then watching your breath. Bringing your awareness in will help you gain clarity. Once you are relaxed and your mind clear, bring your hands to your heart in prayer position so that your thumbs lightly connect with your heart centre and set your intention.

An intention should be in the present tense and as if it has already been manifested, so for example your intention might be 'I release stress' or 'I am calm' if you need to let go of stress in your life.  Setting an intention is not only for the time you spend on the yoga mat but will carry through to your life.  It is a very powerful tool, because of the power of your mind. When you set an intention in a calm, relaxed state, your subconscious, which is an obedient servant, will endeavor to fulfill your intention. In our latest series we have been looking at some of the qualities that yoga can cultivate and your intention could be built around one of these qualities for example 'I am patient', 'I have joy in my heart'. Your intention could also be built around any qualities that you want to let go of in your life, qualities that are not serving you and others, for instance 'I let go of fear', 'I let go of anger'. You could also set an intention for guidance such as 'I have the wisdom to make good choices for myself and others'. Your intention could also be for self-care 'I increase my wellbeing'. An intention from a place of gratitude will bring more into your life to be grateful for!  

Slightly different from an intention is a dedication.  Maybe you know someone who is in need of love and compassion at the moment and you want to send positive energies to them for their healing.  Your dedication doesn't even need to be directed at a person. For instance the earth we live on is in need of positive energy and we can do that through our yoga and meditation.  Directing positive energy to someone else or something else will not diminish your own energies, indeed the positivity you send out will be reflected back to you.  

Hope this helps you next time your teacher invites you to set an intention for your practice.

You may also like:-

'Beginners' guide to yoga styles'

'Beginners' guide to the eight limbs of yoga'

'The beginners' guide to the Bandhas'

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