"Set an intention," many a past yoga teacher asked of me during opening Ohms. “No thanks,” many a times I internally responded. I thought it was just corny. I’m here – on my mat, breathing, flowing – what more is there to this power hour?
Fast forward to today. With every practice, whether a teacher is present to ask me to or not, I set an intention. Why? Because after several years of stubbornly practicing without one, I grew frustrated enough to give it a try – cornball factor be damned.
I had an arsenal of excuses for skipping this part of the practice. But over time I climbed out of my own little silo and joined the many other yogis deepening their practices through intention-setting. Here is how I busted through the excuses blocking my path.
1) Nothing Comes To Mind
This was my go-to excuse. But honestly, when I really thought about it, it was complete bulls**t. The days my head is perfectly free and clear of thoughts are few and very far between. My very first intention upon admitting this to myself was simple: an intention to push away any thoughts that detract from today’s yoga experience.
2) Been There, Done That Same Teacher
Same time. Same flow. Same big yawn about to emerge. I’ve resurrected many a practice by setting an intention to keep it new and fresh.
- Same teacher? Intend to really listen to every cue and not check out like you normally do.
- Same time? Move your mat away from the clock and set an intention to be totally in it – every pose, every moment.
- Same sequence? Set an intention to try a new variation on every pose. It will never feel the same again. All with a little intention setting!
3) It’s Just Too Serious
Says who? One of my favorite intentions (usually set in my home studio to avoid coming face to mat with my ego) is to fall out of at least three poses. And LAUGH my ass-ana off.
4) I Don’t Like The Teacher’s Suggested Intention
That’s why it’s a suggestion. Pick your own, or better yet, try her intention anyway. As the practice gets underway, her suggested intention just might resonate with you. And give you a new idea for a future intention.
5) My Last Practice Sucked And The Intention Didn’t Help
So try again. And go a little deeper with your intention this time. Yesterday’s intention to nail every handstand was a recipe for disappointment. Today’s intention to love myself regardless of the outcome of each pose felt a helluva better.
Just like the poses, intention-setting takes practice. Patience. And time. Keep at it and enjoy the ride!