Setting an Intention

In yoga classes I often ask students to “set and intention” for the class as we begin. This intention, or purpose, can set the tone of the entire class. An empowering intention can make be the difference between moving through class with “the wind at your back” and struggling through in a hope that it will come to an end quickly! Intention setting is not some esoteric principle. It is something that we do every day whether you know it or not.

Today my intention was to "tip-toe through the tulips" - mission accomplished!

Think about your own day (pick a day, like today). If you went to work or school or on a trip somewhere, when you walked out your door to start your day, you had an intention with regards to where you were going. Whenever I put the keys in the ignition of my car, I have a point to why I am turning on the car. Either it is to get to work, go to the store, visit a friend or do something else with a purpose. There is always a reason, even if the reason if to just go for a joy-ride!

In the same way, when students roll-out their yoga mat they are their for a reason, be it conscious or not. In making a conscious and directed purpose for practice there is an opportunity to create a positive meaning for the time and effort spent. It is also a chance to anchor a practice to something positive. After all, it is a lot easier to push through a physically challenging asana if there is a motivating reason for it! In the same reason, it is easier to deal with a challenging situation at work or while traveling if you have a motivating force behind your actions.

Red, red and more red! These tulips are incredible!

As with yoga class, there is power in setting an intention for your day. When I get up every morning, I  set an intention for how I intend to be to be during the day. The intention is never based on an outcome (which is impossible to control) but always centered on my own way of being (which is completely within my control!). Here are a few examples of empowering intentions – in the form of “Today my intention is to….”

  • …be an outstanding example for others
  • …see the humor in every situation
  • …stay present
  • …relax and have fun
  • …see the best in everyone
  • …focus on doing what matters
  • …serve without expectation
  • …to give it my best effort, nothing more and nothing less

Try this practice out for the next few days. When you wake up in the morning (perhaps after a meditation) make it a point to set an intention. Come back to it on a regular basis (perhaps every time you have something to eat or drink), and watch your days take on a whole new meaning.

Empowering intentions can indeed add some color to your life!

Published by Ravi Raman

Executive Coach + Yogi + Endurance Athlete

8 replies on “Setting an Intention”

  1. Ravi – great post and great pix. Thanks for sharing your “tiptoe” day and the tulips with me yesterday.


  2. Thanks Kristy! It was a fun field trip with you and Sean. I put 5-6 tulips we bought yesterday are in a vase and they are already just starting to open!!!! I dropped 5-6 off at Shakti at the front desk, and put the rest in the fridge (they are dipped in a little cup of water and wrapped in plastic) so I can enjoy these for longer!

      1. Hi Jen: I dropped those off at Shakti yesterday after getting back from La Conner, WA…the tulip festival happens there, they will be in bloom through the weekend, definitely worth the trip! Over 7 square miles of fields and amazing colors!

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