Why Set an Intention?

In Sanskrit, sankalpa means intention.  An intention is a promise you make to yourself about what you intend to do, be, say, etc.  An intention is a way to put positive thinking and desires into action.

At the beginning of each yoga class I teach, I offer my students a few moments of silence to set a personal intention for their practice.  I often make suggestions such as set your intention around something in your life you’re grateful for.  Or set it based on a quality you want to improve (patience, breathing, listening, right effort) in your life and/or yoga practice.

I wonder “do they set an intention?”.  And if not, what is going through they’re heads during this moment of silence.

A consistent yoga practice has the power to transform not only your physical body, but your life.  When the body starts to change, your mind and heart begin to open up in ways you can’t imagine.  Top your practice off with an intention and you’ll really start to feel a new meaning to your yoga on and off the mat.

Intention setting is an invaluable tool and one that takes little time, but does require commitment and focus.  It’s also best to keep it simple –one word or phrase.  Let it become your mantra for the practice or your day.

If you’re seeking a change in your life, intention setting might assist in the process. Try it!  What do you have to lose?

3 responses to this post.

  1. I try to start a class (right after our AUM’s…) with intention setting…and then close the class with honoring that intention.

    I think that even if people don’t set one….creating that space where people can do so if they choose has a power in itself.


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  3. Posted by Cat on May 9, 2011 at 7:30 am

    I once had a yoga teacher tell us to set an intention for a difficult person in our lives. I set my intention on my stepmother. She had put such a strain on my family that I found myself thinking of her daily and getting very upset. After class I realized that I no longer felt angry toward her and the feeling lasted for a few weeks. I now make a regular habit of setting my intention on her. It has drastically changed my life.


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