In Yoga Journal's online course, Finding Connection Through Yoga: A Workshop on Our Universal Oneness, legendary integrative-medicine and meditation expert Dr. Deepak Chopra and his yoga teacher, Sarah Platt-Finger, lead a seven-week yoga and meditation experience that will help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself. Sharing tools, science, and wisdom from Chopra's best-selling book You Are the Universe and his acclaimed The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Chopra and Platt-Finger will help you experience greater health, joy, and peace in your life. Learn more and sign up today!
So what are the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, and how can they add meaning and intention to a yoga class? We asked Rebecca Hatman, who has been teaching yoga using the Seven Spiritual Laws since 2014.
"The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga are seven 'laws' or principles that guide the journey of life," she explains. "Each class I teach focuses on one principle that is infused in the practice using intention, asana, mantras, and chakras to explore the principle’s essence. I have had the honor of teaching the principle of Intention and Desire for two years at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, and after each class, I am always amazed at how profound practicing this principle can be on creating positive change in my life and the lives of my students."
The Law of Intention and Desire
The Law of Intention and Desire states that your intentions and desires are supported by the universe, Hatman says. "When you put your attention on your intention, you put to work infinite organizing power toward fulfilling your desire," she explains.
According to Hatman, two important aspects of practicing The Law of Intention and Desire are:
1. Focus on what you want more of, and frame your intention in a positive light. For example, instead of having the intention of having less stress, ask for more peace.
2. Let go of the outcome of your yoga practice. Release any expectations of what each yoga posture should look like by keeping your attention on the present moment and focused on your breath. By focusing your attention in this way, you can unlock infinite potential to manifest your desires without struggling to achieve a specific result.
Practice: Enliven the Manipura Chakra With Kapalabhati Pranayama
Each of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga has a chakra, or energy center, associated with it, Hatman says. The chakra associated with The Law of Intention and Desire is the manipura chakra, which is located at the solar plexus and known for being the seat of courage and power. "When I teach my classes, I focus on enlivening this energy center using the Kapalabhati pranayama, or skull-shining breath," she shares. Here, Hatman explains how to use this practice to awaken your courage and power and manifest your intention and desire:
Start in a comfortable seat with the spine long but not rigid. Place your palms gently on your knees. Take an inhale through your nose to prepare, followed by a forced exhalation out your nose as you contract your belly button toward your spine. Allow the next inhale to come naturally. Repeat the forced exhalation and passive inhalation in a quick rhythm, about one exhale per 1–2 seconds. There is no need to focus on the inhalation—it will come naturally. Do this rhythmic exhaling for 30–45 seconds, then take a break and breathe naturally, noticing any changes. This breathing exercise is invigorating and builds heat and inner fire to achieve your goals. Do not practice this if you are pregnant and stop if you feel light-headed.