5 Ways to Set an Intention

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Have you ever sat in a quiet moment at the beginning of a class, ready for an intense and very necessary practice only to be thrown for a loop when your teacher asks you to set an intention for the class? When I hear this instruction at the beginning of class, sometimes my mind goes totally blank, and I become stressed before the asana part of class even starts. My mind starts spinning… I can’t even think of an intention!? Seriously?!That should be the easy part.


Just as often, I sit there and think to myself, My intention is to be healthy–no, happy!–umm.. or more mindful? Wait! Is that selfish? Maybe I should be a vessel for world peace? Or dedicate my practice to orphans.. Yeah! Orphans! But what about the cancer patients?… and so it goes.. What can I say? I’m either a blank canvas or ideas (and guilt) come spewing so fast they can barely be contained.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In my heart, I know that an intention can be a simple, beautiful truth about you and why you practice. It doesn’t have to cure cancer to be meaningful and effective.

I’ve spent some time thinking about it, and I want to share with you my 5 Best Intentions for yoga class:

1. Chill out! Life isn’t stressful unless you let it stress you out. So, my intention is to just chill out for the next hour and a half and RELAX for a change.

2. Be OK with where I am right now, and realize it’s the perfect place for me. My best is good enough!

3. Fill up, take care of myself, and emerge refreshed and energetic. No more running on fumes.

4. Turn inward–if only for a few moments.

5. Take the lessons I learn on the yoga mat and apply them into all the other areas of my life.

What do you usually think of when your teacher asks you to “set an intention” for your yoga practice?

Erica Rodefer is a writer and yoga practitioner in Charleston, SC. Visit her blog,, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.