“With this I invite you to bring your hands to your heart, and if you chose I invite you to set an intention both for yourself and one for a person, place, or event that needs some extra positive energy right now. If you would like to seal these intentions with an AUM, hold them in your mind’s eye and take a deep breath.”
Most yoga instructors, myself included, will add this to the end of an opening to any class or practice. Though it is a small and could be observed as excessive, this simple piece allows us to open our practice to different depths. By setting intentions before we begin our physical practice we are better able to focus our energies both internally and externally, we have a safe outlet the extra energy we might build from our practice, and finally we begin to open ourselves up to the greater world in love.
Focusing our practice gives ourselves a anchor for when our minds wander, and we are unable to steady our minds on our breath. Physiology we are always changing. Our bodies are constantly updating and repairing, as well as producing and releasing hormones for different reasons throughout the day. So without knowing it or why, each time we step on our mats we are different physically and mentally. By giving ourselves a second anchor for our thoughts and body we are better able to focus our practice. Further when we bring focus to our practice we are better able to reach our goals and aspirations for our practice, effortlessly making changes to ourselves.
We are always building energy in our physical practice and holding it within ourselves. Each time we practice we also become more efficient at building and creating energy within ourselves. However just as with any other living being, or object that uses energy, when there is too much it can cause pressure and an eventual overload. So then when we set an external intention for our physical practice we are given a safe and directed outlet for any extra energy we might create. External intentions can be anything that might need some extra love. I also like to view these external intentions as an opportunity to let go and send blessings towards beings or events that I may have been in the wrong with, or may have slighted with anger. Although it is not a quick fix, slowly each time we focus on sending positive energy towards a person or event that we may bare less than neutral or positive thoughts, eventually we break down our aversions and begin to live more open and loving lives.
Our intentions also begin to open us up to the world around us in a safe and non-threatening manner. In our culture we are always taught to be more and more introverted and cut off from the world around us. We are often unconcerned by the things that do not immediately effect us, and sometimes even chose to not see those thing that do. However when we just chose to send some positive energy out to the world around us, we are choosing to see those things and try to help, without making ourselves vulnerable in any way. Particularly when it comes to trying to forgive those whom have wronged us or send positive love to those we have wronged. Without actually engaging and possibly making ourselves or others uncomfortable, we are working to heal the wounds from our own mats safe in our homes or surrounded by our yoga community.
Setting intentions is an important part of our yoga practice. Intentions bring us a deepening sense of our practice with just a little effort and concentration. They allow us to help focus on the present moment and bring us closer to connection with the greater world around us. By reaching for this connection we are not only able to help ourselves heal but also help heal the world.
Practice in Peace and Love ❤