How to Set an Intention In Your Yoga Practice

In yoga class, teachers will often instruct you at the beginning of class to set your intention, or at times, he or she will suggest one for you to carry with you throughout your practice and the day.

So what is an intention? Why do we set them? And how can you find the right intention for you?

An intention, in the yoga sense, is a sentence or phrase that evokes the goal or path you would like to manifest in your life. Often, they can be deeply personal and force you to make observations about yourself that can sometimes be uncomfortable to analyse. By making an intention and repeating it throughout your physical yoga or meditation practice, you help to change negative behaviours and thought patterns. The mind is a powerful tool and by training it to think positively, you make less room for toxic negativity to plant itself and take root.

Intentions are found and spoken internally at the beginning and end of practice. It’s very important that you set the intention yourself so that it has special meaning to you and you can fully understand what you want to achieve with it.
An intention usually begins with “I will…” but to make it stronger you can use “I am…,” which solidifies the characteristic in you. Your intention should always be stated in positive terms and focus on the direction you want to take your practice and everyday life.  So rather than saying “I am not an angry person,” try the more positive sentence, “I am a compassionate being.”

To find the perfect intention for you, first, check-in with yourself and look for any driving emotions that are coming up day-to-day that are bringing negative actions or negative thoughts to the forefront. As an example, if you notice that you’ve been losing a lot of patience lately, some of the emotions that surround that may be anger, frustration, or a sense of being overwhelmed. Once you identify these negative thoughts or emotions, you can look for their counterparts to build into your life. In this example, you could use the intention, “I will be mindful of my emotions before acting,” or for a stronger intention, “I am mindful of my emotions.”

To help guide you in writing the perfect intention for you, I’ve made a downloadable worksheet that can help you find the right words that mean something to you. Give yourself 30-45 minutes to complete it.

While it’s great to make time to write the perfect intention for yourself, sometimes there isn’t time. Here are some intentions you could use today:

For Inner strength, self-acceptance and self- doubt:

I am enough.

All the strength I need is within me.

I have all I need inside of me.

I accept me as I am.

For bringing kindness into your life: 

I welcome others with an open heart.

I am a kind warrior.

I invite your light.

The light in me, honours the light in you. (Namaste)

For ridding yourself of anxiety and stress and welcoming calmness and content:

I am more than this emotion.

I am that. (As in part of this Universe Mantra: So Hum)

I breathe deeply and effortlessly.

I am present. I am here.

For difficult times:

Life is tough but some am I.

This is but a moment of my life.

I have the courage and strength to get through this.

I am doing this.

For practicing more self-care & self-love:

I am mine, before I am anyone else’s.

I take time for myself.

I am beautiful.

I choose kindness.

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