Intentions On The Mat

Many years ago, I went to a yoga class where the teacher asked us to set an intention for our practice. I found myself becoming anxious by this simple request. It reminded me of blowing out birthday candles and the pressure to make the perfect wish. I felt my inner-perfectionist bubbling up to make the right decision. What is the right intention? Should it be a literal intention like, “I hope I can touch my toes today.” Or should it be a more spiritual one like, “I hope I become a more patient person.” Or should it be more global like, “I hope there is peace in the Middle East.” I was so in my head about picking the RIGHT intention that my time was up and I came up with nothing. I spent the rest of my yoga class thinking about what my intention should have been.

A few weeks later I took another yoga class, where the instructor asked us to set an intention OR a dedication for our practice. I felt liberated by the option to “dedicate” my practice to someone else. Something about “intention” was just too daunting, but “dedication” felt easier. I just needed to think about someone who needed positive energy sent their way.

I came to love the power of dedications so much. I saw truly miraculous results when I started dedicating my practices to family members and friends who needed help through difficult times.

We do powerful work on our mats when we take the time to breathe, stretch, exercise, meditate or just be still. Not just physically, but energetically.

There is power in thought. There is power in setting an intention… even when we rename it and call it a dedication.

By dedicating your practice to someone you love, you are sending energy to help heal them or to encourage them, to support them or just to hold them closer in your heart.

Now that I teach my own yoga classes, whether it is in a public class or a private session, I always have my students begin in a comfortable seated position, ask them to place their hands to heart, bow their heads, and take a moment to silently dedicate their practice to someone or something that needs their love and attention.

You don’t need to practice yoga to set intentions or dedicate your energy to someone or something. You can do this when you meditate, before you go to sleep, or any time you find a few moments to just be still. It is truly powerful stuff.

I highly recommend finding a few minutes each day to sit quietly and dedicate your silence to someone or something special. It can even be yourself…

You might be amazed by the results.