Set your intentions. How many times have you heard the instructor say that before class started? If you haven’t, pay attention and see if they are saying it and you just haven’t been hearing it (hey…happens to me ALL the time).
One day I actually noticed this statement…this set your intentions thing. It wasn’t new to me. It was just something that I think had always gone in one ear and out the other. I had heard it but never listened (or is it listened but never heard? I always get that mixed-up). And I began thinking, how often do I just wander about my day mindlessly without any real intention? How often do I approach class without any intention?
On the one hand, there is the importance to being open and in the moment. I’m not talking about setting intentions like Today, I will get my head on my knee in SH2K. That’s a bit too specific and doesn’t account for how I will feel when we get to SH2K (for example, I felt like vomiting in today’s class when we got to that posture, yet up until that point I had felt fabulous), how tight my hamstrings are, how well I will balance, and any other host of things that are simply going to be the way they are going to be.
A better intention might be Today, I will be present while doing SH2K. I can be in the moment with the posture. Well, maybe. I can also start thinking about spaghetti when I am in the posture. For some reason, I think about eating spaghetti a lot when I am in class. It just sounds delicious. However, since I have set my intention to stay present in SH2K, I can bring myself back from my spaghetti eating dreams and refocus. I don’t need to be perfect. Just having the intention gives me something to frame my class around and to push myself just a bit more. It’s an intention – it’s what I intend to do. How well I do it (or not) is gonna be whatever it’s gonna be. I can always return to the same intention tomorrow.
I do think intentions can be posture specific, but I also think one intention per class is enough. At least it is for me. I don’t need a list of intentions to keep track of. Of course they can be much bigger than a posture. I could imagine having an intention to focus on my breath or work to keep my mind focused on the posture (again, not thinking about eating spaghetti).
Of course we can take this concept and apply it back into our lives outside the hot room. You can set your intention for the day, for a time of day (morning/afternoon/evening), or for an event within the day (like a fun meeting you have to attend).
I have to admit, while I started thinking about this a month ago I’ve been pretty poor at applying it. But I would love to start thinking about this idea of setting intentions and how it might help me be more mindful about my day. What do you think? Do you see this as helpful?
Head on over to the MBYL FB page and look for the thread on sharing your intentions. Feel free to share your intention(s) for the day or for your yoga class. Read what others have posted to get some inspiration for future ways to set your intentions. Let’s see how this works!