Setting Intentions

balasanaWhy do we set intentions for our yoga class?

Often at the beginning of class, you will hear your Full Circle Yoga Instructor say, “Feel free to set an intention…”
Why is this? Can’t you just breathe and see what happens? Sure you can. It’s your practice. The option to set an intention is actually an invitation to check in with yourself on every level. Sometimes we don’t even really know how we feel until we make it to our yoga mat. So when setting an intention, you ask yourself how you feel, what you need, and how your practice can best serve you, so you leave your mat feeling like a fresh version of yourself and able to give the best of yourself to others.
According to yogic philosophy, an intention is a “sankalpa,” a vow or longing that comes from the core of your heart, your deepest truth. An intention is different than a goal… it’s not a desire for holding a handstand or losing weight. An intention is a higher self longing that can actually bring more fulfillment and help you work through tension and stress.


Benefits of Setting an Intention:

  • Attaching meaning or direction to your movement can lift you when you are challenged.
  • “Meaning” makes your practice bigger; moving beyond the movement. You can even turn it into a dedication to those or anyone in need to create a self-less act and reduce separation between yourself and others.
  • An intention can make you smile during (and embrace) the “peak” of your practice.
  • You can draw energy or inspiration from your intention.
  • You can customize your practice to your intuitive needs to make it more interesting.
  • Example: “Today, I am fidget free.” Catch yourself bouncing or fussing or looking around in a pose, and keep going back to COMPLETE stillness in your postures and keep emptying the mind of excess thoughts that creep up.
  • Intentions can become your mantra for an entire day.
  • Example: “This is good for me because…” And then when a challenge arises in your day, you might be able to think of one or two positive things that can come from it.
  • I recommend setting your intention in the present form, as if you already possess the quality you are seeking, because you do! We know from the law of attraction that thoughts lead to feelings, that lead to words, that lead to actions. So we start by changing our mind(set).

Examples of intentions:

“I am peaceful.”
“I am this strong.”
“I embrace this moment.”
“I choose this moment.”
“I am grateful for this day.”
“I am healthy and able.”
“I’m trying easy rather than trying hard.”
“I’m making it look easy.”
“I’m nourishing my body and soul.”
“I’m stress-free.”
“I invite peace.”
“This moment is all I have.”
“I am enough.”
“I love this practice
“I am stronger than my doubts.”


I hope this brings you a little bit of clarity and inspiration for your next practice. Remember that every time you step onto your mat, it’s an opportunity to discover who you are that day.


Love and Namaste,

Christine Northcote | Full Circle Yoga Yogini, Director and Owner