At the beginning of a yoga class, your teacher may invite you to set a Sankalpa or intention for your practice.
Setting a Sankalpa is one way we can live a more mindful and intentional life. By setting an intention, we are starting to take our yoga "off the mat" and make our yoga practice one of mindfulness and not simply an exercise class.
How to Set an Intention
Set your intention right at the beginning of your practice. First, find stillness. Notice your breath, in through the nose and out through the nose. Now, think about your intention and sit with it for a few moments.
To set an intention, bring your awareness to a quality or virtue that you want to cultivate more of in your life. Perhaps you want to invite into your life more compassion, kindness, gratitude, grace, forgiveness or love.
Perhaps you want to be more present or mindful, or become better at letting go. Perhaps you want to cultivate balance and peace or health and wellness. Your intention can be anything that brings your soul peace, happiness, and joy. In wording your intention, be sure to frame it positively.
Instead of saying "I will not stress myself out today," you can focus on the intention or mantra, "I am at peace." Here are some more examples of positively worded intentions:
"I am compassionate and kind."
"I forgive myself and others."
"I am balanced in mind and body."
"I have an open heart."
You can revisit your intention at any time throughout your practice, but be sure to come back to it at least once right at the end of your practice. In this way, you will carry it with you right from the beginning up to the moment you seal your practice with your heartfelt intention.
What intention do you set, or whom do you dedicate your practice to? Share your thoughts below.
Image credit: Stephanie Birch