Have you ever been to a yoga class, and the teacher started off the class with “Okay, I would now like us to take this time to set an intention”?
I knew that the purpose behind the intention was good….but I was never quite sure what exactly this was supposed to mean, or how I was supposed to do it. I would think to myself…. “My intention is to give this practice my best” or “My intention is to make it to class 3 times this week”, and so on. It would be an uplifting commitment to myself and made me feel good – however, I had a hunch that I was doing it wrong. And I was right.
First, we must understand the difference between an intention and a goal. A goal is created with the logical brain. It is something that you tell yourself you need to do to be happy, and is directed towards the future. For example, “I want to hold crow pose for 30 seconds” is a goal. On the other hand, an intention is something that comes from your higher self. It is needed to reach your spiritual fulfillment and is directed towards the present moment to add value to your life. “I accept myself with no judgement” is an intention.
Knowing the difference between the two allows you to grasp your intentions with both hands and take them to the next level, while seeing effects that are life changing. The intention brings your awareness to something you wish to cultivate for your practice – both on and off the mat. It makes the practice a lifestyle, and not just an exercise. In other words, it is a powerfully energetic tool that acts as a bridge between what you work through on the mat and what you continue to focus on even long after class is over.
The intention can be a word, a quote, a dedication, a prayer, an affirmation, etc. It just needs to be a statement that reflects a change you want for your life. One more fun twist? Saying the statement in the present tense, with the thought that you already have it – makes the intention a thousand times more powerful. So for example, if you want more peace in your life, instead of saying “I want more peace in my life” say “I am living a peaceful life” or focus on the word “peace” while envisioning yourself as a peaceful person. This works alongside with the law of attraction to draw the parallel into your life and cultivate what you are wanting much faster.
Some people may be in really rough spots, finding nothing to focus on besides the negatives. In this case, even though it may be hard, try to flip the negative and solely focus on the opposite positive. Examples:
Anger > Forgiveness
Fear > Comfort
Weakness > Strength
Sadness > Joy
Doubt > Peace
Insecurity > Confidence
Instability > Balance
Betrayal > Truth
Indifference > Compassion
Constraint > Freedom
Emptiness > Fulfillment
Loneliness > Community
This all seems pretty easy, right? The one key factor of intentions that a lot of people overlook, and therefore see no results from, is the fact that you cannot set your intention when your mind is busy, distracted, or disturbed. Before setting your intention, you must take a few moments of silence to turn your thoughts into your body – listen to your heartbeat, feel your slow breathing. Even taking a moment to be grateful for everything you have – even if it’s just the time you’ve taken to be on your mat, opens your heart a bit to allow the intention to go deeper. Once your mind is silenced a bit, and you are present, then plant the seed of the intention. Throughout your practice remind yourself of the intention. Then at the end, once your mind and body are calm, let it be the last thing you meditate on as to irrigate the seed into the subconscious layers of your mind.
Now that we are informed, it will be fun to start playing around with these intentions and truly start to notice the changes that we see them manifest into our life.
“Ask, Believe, Receive.”