Many times, at the beginning of a practice, the teacher will say, “set an intention for today’s practice.” Setting an intention really means focusing on one thing, especially something important. It’s a way of harnessing energy and putting things in perspective. Many believe that yoga practice not only shifts an individual’s energy, but may shift the collective energy in the room and even outside in the world. Now that is pretty heady stuff.
To bring it back to you, setting an intention for practice can be very personal and unique. It could be something as simple as, “I am going to really focus on my breath,” or “I am going to dedicate this practice to my friend who is ill,” or “I will use mantra in practice to stay present. Each time I inhale I will say, ‘I am’ and each time I exhale I will say, ‘here now,’” or maybe just, “I am going to entertain ONLY positive thoughts.” There are many ways to set an intention for practice.
Another way of looking at intention is a first step to transformation. Setting an intention is really the first step to an action. I encourage you to try it for the next month and see if it adds a new dimension to your yoga practice, both on and off the mat.