Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is an Intention?

You will be asked in most Yoga classes to "Set an intention" for your practice. What does this mean to you? For some, you may be wondering what the heck an intention is. Well, let me do some explaining:

To me, Yoga is about living a more mindful life. To move with purpose on and off the mat. My "intention" changes from day to day(sometimes by the hour). You never know what life can throw at you, so having an aspiration to guide me has often been a life savor.

An intention is something that is personal to you. We have goals in life, but what drives these goals? Something much deeper. If you wish to write or Paint on a canvas, what drives that thought? To express yourself. To be creative. That main goal to write a book or Paint, comes from a little seedling that is telling you more. This seedling wants you to open up and express yourself. That seedling is there to guide you to reach your goal. That, to me, is what an intention is. An aspiration. Something to guide me to my main goal: To life mindfully and purposefully. 

An intention can be a phrase, a word, a quote...Anything! There is no right or wrong way to set your intention in your practice. Your intention is something that will guide you not only through your Yoga practice but off the mat as well, into your daily life. 

Here are some examples that you are welcome to use anytime!

Gratitude: During all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we can sometimes lose track of what is most important in our lives. Be grateful for YOU. For the things you have in your life. For everything that contributes to your happiness. Be grateful.

Breathe: Again, sometimes we just need to breathe. Whether a posture is challenging us, or life is challenging us. Just breath, Give yourself that time to just be. And give yourself time to metabolize what is going on. 

Forgiveness: Forgive. This can be challenging depending on the scenario but think about the good that it will do you. To let go of whatever is clinging to you. Forgive, let go and move on.

Ahimsa: The first Yama in the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Ahimsa translates to non-harming or non-violence. Compassion to yourself and to others. We can be so hard on ourselves; Harsh words, negative criticism, self-sabotage, etc. We can also be very hard on others as well. Practice Ahimsa. Be kind to yourself and to others around you. There is a quote from Buddha:

“The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings… As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.”
This quote speaks volumes to me. If we are always putting ourselves down, always negative towards ourselves and others. If we are always limiting our self worth and potential, well then eventually we will start believing that we aren't valuable.  Put those negative thoughts to bed. Start believing in yourself!

Strength: Whatever life throws at us; Be it on the Yoga mat(I'm talking to you headstands!) or in our daily lives, sometimes we need to call upon our strength. Reminding ourselves that we are strong and vibrant can do wonders on our mat and off the mat.

I hope this post helps you! I hope I have explained in clarity what an intentions purpose is. An intention can be called about any time of the day. It is there to guide you! <3


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