The beginning of your yoga class usually starts with sitting comfortably, cross-legged and closing your eyes. Then, your teacher may ask you to set an intention for the next hour. “Eeek” you internally cry. What on earth is my intention going to be?!
But, it’s really not that complicated at all. An intention is just a sort of promise that you make to yourself and try to carry with you for the duration of your class. The Sanskrit word for intention is Sankalpa. It translates literally as connecting with a vow.
Your intention should be personal to you and can be anything you want it to be. It should feel right at that particular moment and shouldn’t be thought-about too much before the class. I always like to repeat my intention three times in my mind before I begin my asanas so that it’s clearly set in my brain.
To give you a little inspiration for your intentions, below are three suggestions you could use as a base to get started…
An intention of gratitude
It’s common in life to focus on the things we haven’t got, instead of being grateful for the things we do have. Instagram and other social channels make it easier for us to see other people’s lives and successes, and sometimes we end up feeling resentful of our own lives, without thinking about all the amazing things we have ourselves. So, why not set an intention of gratitude next time you practice yoga? ‘I am going to be grateful for by body’. ‘I am going to be grateful for every breath’ or ‘I am going to be grateful for being able to practice yoga here with friends in a lovely environment’. These are all the types of intentions that you could set yourself to create more gratitude in your life.
An intention of awareness
Quite often, we carry out everyday tasks and activities without real awareness of what we are doing. We put on our auto-pilot button and just get on with it in our usual way. So, next time you are starting your yoga session, why not set an intention to be more aware. It could be to be more aware of your body, more aware of each breathe, more aware of sensations you are feeling at different times. Or, perhaps you are too aware? Perhaps you are constantly looking around you during yoga to see what everyone else is doing? Therefore, your intention could even be to have less awareness of others and really focus on your own practice during that time.
An intention of strength
There are times in yoga, and in life generally, when we could all do with a little strength. So, setting an intention of strength might just give us that extra boost we need during a challenging period. Yoga is not about testing our strength or pushing ourselves too far, but often we need that confidence to tell ourselves ‘we can do this’. Whether it’s the strength to try a balance that we’ve always thought we could never do. Or strength to switch off completely during a Savasana. If we bring our thoughts back to that intention of strength, it might just give us the encouragement we need to finally do it!
Whatever your intention, we can’t wait to see you at Go Yoga soon!