Setting an intention in yoga and beyond

It’s not until recently that I no longer thought “setting an intention for our practice today” is just one of those things yoga teachers say.

It happened when this connects internally for me what intention means, not just for my yoga practice but beyond that in life as well. Let’s look at it from both perspectives.

  • In our yoga practice, an intention is not a goal, it’s a mindset to achieve balance by keeping in mind what I need most at that time, helping me stay present in the moment. An intention can be manifested through a word, a quote, or a feeling. Sometimes it can be dedicated to someone or something outside of myself, which is a great way to increase a positive flow of energy.
  • The true beauty behind an intention is that we will manifest into our lives, that we’ve set in our heart. By returning to the energy of this focus no matter what is going on, we can train ourselves to stay committed to that intention, on and off the mat. 🙂

We were discussing this in class today with Master Ram, having intention is quite different than making goal. It does not aim towards a future outcome. It is a path that is focused on how we are “being” in the present moment, intrinsically and extrinsically. We can achieve this by practicing Dhyana, Dharana and Pratihara.

I believe with true intentions, we can become more effective in reaching our goals to overcome materialism and insecurities. Goals could help us be an effective professional, but being grounded in intention is what provides true purpose in life.

Let’s live our intentions everyday 🙂

Yoga playlists

Music moves me. It’s always been incorporated in my yoga practice as well so I thought I would share my love for both in this post.

In no place is music more intensely experienced for yogis than in a yoga class. When we practice together, moving and breathing as one, we come into rhythm with one another—whether we’re practicing to a Sanskrit bhajan, some mellow hip-hop or simply to the sounds of our coordinated Ujjayi breathing.

I’ve created a playlist inspired by the ocean and thought I would share it for when you need some fluid tunes for your flow practice.

Other yoga playlists that you might like:

1hr Feel-good Yoga Class for Ultra beginners

1. Introduction: 5 minutes
• Check if there are any medical conditions
• Introduce the class (style, pace, sequence etc.): break down some of the basics and alignment to ultimately help to guide you through finding what feels good
• Set intention (start with an open mind, find stillness, maybe you want to be more present or mindful, or become better at letting go)

2. Prayamana: 5 minutes
• Sit comfortably
• Inhale & exhale deeply and freely
• Introduce Ujjayi breathing: completely fill your lungs, while slightly contracting your throat, and breathe through your nose

3. Warm up: 10 minutes
• Sit comfortably, on 1 blocks if available to lift the hips up and rise up through the spine.
• Neckrolls: First, let your chin drop toward your chest. Then roll your chin over to the left shoulder, circle the head back, and then bring the chin to the right shoulder. Continue circling slowly, moving through any areas of tightness, for about five rotations on each side.
• Easy twists: twist to the right, bringing your left hand to your right knee and the right hand behind your back. Take your gaze gently over your right shoulder. Then twist to the left, bringing the right hand to your left knee and the left hand behind your back, gazing over your left shoulder.
• Left, right, forward bends: 5 breathes each
• Cat and cow poses: 5 times
• Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) to stretch out the legs, pedal the heels up and down to lengthen the calves and hamstrings
• Child’s pose

4. Surya namaskar A: 10 minutes (2 rounds)
• Stand in Tadasana. Feet together or hip-width apart, knee caps engaged, buttocks and abs gently engaged. Arms beside the body roll the shoulders back, fingers active. Stand tall and gaze forward.
• Samasthiti (Standing prayer): Inhale and as you exhale, place the palms together at the heart centre.
• Ardha Chakrasana (Half Wheel Pose): Inhaling, raise both arms up, elongate the spine, contract the gluteal muscles as you bend backwards. Gaze in between eyebrows.
• Uttansana (forward bend): Exhaling, lengthen the spine, fold forward from the hips with belly in. Place palms down next to respective feet. Try to bring the abdomen in contact with the thighs, face in contact with the shins.
• Ashwa Sanchalansana (Horse Lunge pose): Inhaling, step the right leg back into a lunge position. Ensure that the left knee is at 90 degrees and does not go beyond the toes. Keep the right knee straight, hips squared, spine elongated, shoulders rolled back and gaze between the eyebrows
• Santolasana (Plank pose): Holding the breath, step the left leg back into a plank position. Ensure that the shoulders are directly above the wrists. Spread the fingers and ground the entire palms firmly. Engage the core muscles and keep the entire body in a single diagonal line. Make sure the tailbone is tucked in. Gaze at a point on the floor about 1 m away.
• Ashtanga Namaskar (8 limb salutation): Exhaling, lower the knees, chest and chin to the ground. The chest should be in line with both palms, elbows close to the body and stacked above wrists. Keep the lumbar arched and point the sit bones up
• Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) inhaling, slide the upper body forward and up, rolling the shoulders back. Keep the pelvis, legs and feet on the ground, engage the gluteal muscles slightly and stretch the sternum forward. Gaze in between the eyebrows.
• Adho Mukha Swanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose): Exhaling, ground the palms, lift chest and hips off the floor, bend at the hip and point sit bones to the ceiling. Straighten knees and elbows, forming an inverted V shape. Legs are separated hip-width apart. Keep the spine and legs straight.
o Fingers are extended, arms and legs are active. Contract the quadriceps to draw the knee caps up. If possible, press the heels to the ground. Gaze towards the navel.
• Ashwa Sanchalansana (Horse Lunge Pose): Inhaling, step the right leg forward in line with the palms into a lunge position.
• Uttansana (Intense forward bend): Exhaling, step the left leg forward to meet with the right and fold forward.
• Ardha Chakrasana (Half Wheel Pose): Inhaling, lengthen the spine, raise both arms up, come up to standing with a flat back.
• Samasthiti (Standing prayer): Exhaling, in standing position, place the palms together at the heart centre.
• Repeat on the left leg to complete 1 round.

5. Warrior A & B: 10 minutes (1 round each)
• Warrior 1 – Virabhadrasana A
o Inhale, step the right leg back, turn the body around, bend the right knee at 90 degree angle, raise the arms up, put the palms together & gaze at the thumbs. Stay for 5 breaths
o Exhale, come back & repeat on the left leg
• Warrior 2 – Virabhadrasana B
o Inhale, step the right leg back, spread the arms open, bend the right knee at 90-degree angle, gaze at the right hand. Stay for 5 breaths
o Exhale, come back & repeat on the left leg

6. Options (10min)
• Paschimottanasa A, B
• Janu Shirshasana A, B
• Purvattanasana – Reverse plank
• Camel pose
• Twist & individual adjustment

7. Savasana: 5 minutes
8. Closing: 5 minutes

Namaste 🙂