All my classes start in this way, with a few moments of silence. With time for students to consider why they took the time to practice at the start or end of a busy day. Establishing a clear intention is the single most important thing you can do in a practice of yoga. It’s certainly far more important than being able to rock a headstand or headstand. It’s matters much more than or how hard you plan to push physically during a class or how much you sweat or how deep you breath or what kind of clothing you have on.
Intention is everything. It’s like a compass or GPS that orients you in the right direction at the start of a trip, and if you get off course it will help you get back on course. We know that the brain takes in far more data than we actually bring to conscious attention, and your intention guides the filtering process to make sure that suitable things are brought to your awareness.
Intentions are not some squishy woo-woo metaphysical thing. It is a very practical act that is at the heart of what makes us human and different from other beings that roam the planet. We are able to set a purpose behind our actions as opposed to acting simply due to cosmic entropy.
It is why I don’t eat animals (even though at some point in our distant past our predecessors did). It is why I run a lot and enjoy it a lot, even though for some people running is torture! It is why I have spent 10+ years at Microsoft, and love it , despite the nature of the work demanding loads of time and energy. We get the power of choice as humans and that makes us unique. Intention is everything and it paints your life experience in the color of your choosing.
An intention predicated on neediness, fear, self-gratification or greed will amplify those aspects of your practice and will paint your experience to appear as such.
An intention predicated on self-discovery, openness, joy, forgiveness and empowerment will amplify those aspects of your practice and will paint your experience as such.
Before you begin your next yoga practice, take a few seconds to consider why you are there and set and intention. What follows will take on an entirely different meaning. You can do the same at the start of a workday, a business meeting, a long run or any other endeavor.