Setting an intention for your practice is commonplace in many yoga classes. The act of setting an intention allows time to check in with your mind, body, and spirit and asks you to choose which part of yourself may need a little extra TLC that day. An intention as simple as staying in the moment or focusing on your breath can be that extra something that allows you to receive the maximum benefit of your practice.
It’s a pretty simple idea, choose your focus and then focus on it. Your focus can be minute or grand, internal or external, easy or hard, there’s no wrong answer.
What I personally love as a teacher and a student is that a yoga studio is one of the few places in the world where your intention is more important than you actions. Outside the studio, if you hurt someone’s feelings even though you had the best of intentions, they’re still going to be upset with you. In a studio, if you set an intention of staying attentive to your breath throughout class and fail to do so, there’s absolutely no judgement. Your teacher doesn’t care if you failed with your intention or didn’t sit as low as you can in your chair pose, they care that you showed up for practice and they care that you leave feeling happy and healthy.
It seems like a simple idea, but it’s the simple concepts of yoga that I find to be the most beautiful. This little sanctuary that is offered by your yoga studio where you can not only leave everything behind, but where the deepest intention you set is what is held in the highest regards. We give ourselves room to explore our practice a little deeper without fear of failure or judgement and instead find acceptance.
So next time you’re in class and your teacher asks you to set an intention, instead of running through your mental to-do list for after class, take a moment and set your intention. Even if it’s as simple as finding the space to crack a smile during your practice, take advantage of one of the few spaces where what’s in your heart is what matters the most.