I begin each yoga class I teach with an intention - what are we here for and how will we accomplish it? Sometimes the intention is purely physical - let's open those hips! Sometimes it is mental - finding a sense of gratitude. Sometimes its spiritual - connecting to one's deepest sense of self. Many times its a combination of all three.
What the intention does is set a purpose for the class and that purpose is shared by the group in that moment. It also lets the group know a direction, an idea of what's to come in the practice. It is like an introduction to a paper or a book -"here is what I plan to share with you in my writing......." it creates the feeling and the mindset right off the bat.
An intention is like a resolution, but very different. A resolution requires strong acts of will toward a purpose. While an intention is a gentle mindset toward a purpose. A resolution is focused on a future outcome. An intention is focused on the present.
When you set an intention, you create the mindset you wish to cultivate, you create the emotion you want to feel, you find the connection to spirit needed. If you desire a happy life, you set the intention to be happy - right now, you create the mindset immediately. What we create in the present, creates the future.
But I can't be happy the way my life is now, I will be happy when...... I lose 15 lbs., I get a new job, I am done with this training and get that promotion...... It goes on and on. The problem is we don't get happy. We find another requirement to our happiness and always a new requirement after that.
An intention comes from an internal space. When we create what we are seeking from within - without requirements from the outside world - we won't be disappointed. Yes, we are human, so we will fail sometimes and lose track of our intentions, but continually practicing, continually setting intentions trains our brains, our nervous systems, our spiritual presence, and our thinking patterns into an automated mode that returns to the intention regularly and with increasing speed as we practice.
Set your intention daily: Sit quietly with some music that sets the tone for your intention, if desired. Close your eyes and let yourself feel the intention - I want to be happy with my body - don't talk yourself out of it, just feel the happiness, not judging or criticizing. All we're doing here is creating what it is you want to feel and let yourself feel it, know it, soak it in! I want to be successful - let yourself feel success, know it, soak it in! Do this for a few minutes to longer each and every day. If you'd like, you can set the daily intention in the morning and then sit with it at night seeing how the day went. Give the practice a month and notice how life changes for you!
What intentions will you set for yourself each day?