It is likely you will hear your yoga teacher ask you at the start of each class to set your intention before you begin the session. It may be explained to you that your intention can be large or small, or about giving or receiving. But why does this matter and is it even necessary?
To intend literally means to mentally have in mind something to be brought about into reality. When we intend to do something, it means we want to embark on a task or attain a goal. In theory, when we put our mind to it, we will have the power that will give us everything we need to forge ahead.
That is not always the case. The old adage, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but heaven is full of good works” means that unless we actually do something with our good intentions, they just lie dormant inside of our minds, as great ideas or wishful thinking.
But, there is hope after all. By setting an intention before yoga, (which is highly influential on the mind), we gain an advantage over the average rate of “good intentions gone by the wayside” and find ourselves moving above and beyond our loftiest aspirations.
The following explains why setting an intention before yoga can help us attain our goals outside of class.
All of your thoughts are perceived as real by your mind and body. For example, if you think fearful thoughts, your body is likely to tense. If you think positive thoughts, your body is likely to react in a positive way. When you constantly revisit a thought or an idea, especially in the midst of a mind-body activity such as yoga, the affects of these thoughts settle deeply in your body, therefore making them more of a reality versus just a noble idea.
The premise of yoga is steeped in releasing old habits and bringing about new ones. When you find yourself stretching beyond your expectations, you are letting go of the way you are to embrace the way you aim to be. Couple this with your intention and you have no other choice but to live your dream.
A lot of time is spent in self-reflection during a yoga practice. Holding poses for what seems like hours brings you head to head with your current state of affairs. While staying firmly connected with your set intention, you will begin to process and accept those things about yourself you want to change or improve. Recognizing exactly where the changes need to be made is the first step in making those changes happen.