If you’re like me, you attend yoga as much for the mental benefits as the physical ones. I’m a busy bee by nature. I spend most of the day devoting my time to someone or something other than myself. Yoga is my hour of freedom. One hour a day where I can truly relax.
Many yoga classes begin with the instructor giving you an invitation to set an intention for your practice. An intention can be anything you want. It can be a quote, to get yourself through the next sixty minutes, to send your positive energy to a loved one who needs it, to focus on stretch, strength, balance or your breathing, or even something like intentionally letting go of a situation that is worrying you. There is no “right” intention. Your intention is for you, and you alone.
When I first started doing yoga, I honestly wrote this part of class off. As I grew in my practice, however, I realized how rewarding setting an intention could be. Because I’m a worrier by nature, the hardest part of my practice is often shutting off my inner dialogue. Most often, my intention is to let go of all my worries for that hour. To “be a warrior, not a worrier.”
During my practice, every time the instructor says “return to your breath”, I repeat my intention. When it’s the toughest moment of the class, I repeat my intention. When my mind begins to stray from the task at hand, I repeat my intention. My intention keeps me in the present moment. It helps me hone in on what exactly it is I want to focus on during that hour.
Try setting a thoughtful intention and returning to it throughout your practice today. I promise, you’ll leave class feeling truly at peace.
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