Have you ever been on your mat at the start of a practice and you are asked if you’d like to set an intention? To be perfectly honest, this invitation always made me feel a bit “less.” Like everyone else has such a rich practice that they are dedicated and committed so much that they set specific intentions. I was never really sure what this was supposed to be or what I was supposed to do. But I had a bit of an “a-ha” moment a few weeks ago……..
I was with someone and we were chatting and I was about to respond to a statement with a probably witty snarky/witty comment meant to be funny - but as it would have been received by the person probably wasn’t so witty and could have easily been interpreted as hurtful. I stopped myself on a dime. What was my intention by saying that? What was that comment going to achieve? That incredibly brief moment has led to quite a bit of thinking and exploring these past few weeks. I started paying attention to each interaction throughout my day and the first things to come to mind to speak in response. LOL - I kept my mouth shut several times.
What if we were truly cognizant about our intentions throughout our day, throughout our relationships, throughout our lives. What feelings might be saved, what might we spend our attention on? What might we achieve? If we want to have a positive, supportive relationship with someone, what do we say to that person to lift them up? To express that we are for them? What do we say to ourselves? How might the way we focus our intentions play out in our experiences? Intentions are the start.
Yes, they are the start, because it takes more than an intention that sits in the mind to actually cultivate a result. It is when an intention seamlessly drives a decision to behave or take an action of some sort. If my intention is a positive supportive relationship with someone, my decision is to keep my mouth shut before saying something, something that even if meant in jest, could be construed as mean-hearted. If my intention is to support my self-love, am I pursuing relationships or actions that feed and nurture that? If there is something I want to achieve - be it cleaning my closet or earning a degree, what action am I taking?
On the mat, when I am preparing for a yoga practice, what is my intention for that time? It could be anything….. To simply keep my attention on the present…. To grow my awareness of my body and how it feels as I move through the practice, to be in prayer or a state of thanks. Maybe at the start of your next practice, the cue to set an intention will be more empowering, I know it is for me.
Hi - I am Michelle, wife of one, mother of three, long time yoga practitioner.