Practitioners of yoga will be familiar with setting intentions. At the beginning of each practice, the yoga instructor will open the class with an invitation for yogis to take a moment of silence to pause, breathe in and out, and think about an intention they’d like to set before beginning their practice. What is an intention? It’s simple: an intention is a promise to yourself that guides your actions — whether that’s for the hour, the day, or your whole life.
When setting an intention during your yoga practice, you might intend to focus on your breath, or to be gentle with yourself. A more expansive intention might be to practice kindness, to stick to a healthy diet, or to remember to perform your Self-Care routine every night. An intention can be whatever you’d like it to be; it’s a personal promise to yourself to follow through on a thought, emotion, action, or routine.
How to Set Intentions
It might seem pretty straightforward, but sometimes setting an intention might be a bit tricky. Many people choose to set intentions for the day during a morning meditation practice or as the last thing before going to bed at night. Meditation is a great way to slow down and clear your mind in order to think about which intentions are right for you. Try lighting a candle, finding a quiet corner, and closing your eyes.
First, you’ll want to think about the things that matter to you. This could be something immediate — like focusing on feeling your muscles stretch and your body move during a run, or homing in on the smell of your bath oil while relaxing in the tub. Or, it could be something larger — like concentrating on being kind to others that day, or improving your communication skills. To set an intention, think about something you’d like to center your mind on and really appreciate. Then keep that in your mind as you go about your workout, your day — or your life.
Examples of Intentions
So what kind of intentions do people focus on? Take a look at a few intentions to give you an idea.
- Concentrating on breathing in and out
- Focusing on competing tasks and staying organized
- Making an effort to be patient with your children or partner
- Making a commitment to yourself to treat yourself well
- Dedicating yourself to healthy eating and good Self-Care habits
Intentions look different for everyone, because everyone is unique and special in their own ways — and so are intentions. No matter what you choose to focus on for your intention, as long as it comes from the heart, it’s the right one for you.
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