“Revive”, I repeat to myself as I start to lose focus in Standing Bow Pose. I find balance again, and my body syncs with my breathing. My posture deepens, the sequence goes on, and I make progress with what my mind, body, and breath present to me in this hour. I leave class feeling revitalized and carry that feeling throughout the rest of my day. This is the power of setting an intention in your yoga practice.
My personal yoga experience started in high school (Harpeth Hall-Nashville, TN) when I decided I would rather take yoga than a general physical exercise, or strength and conditioning course. Little did I know that my teacher would open my eyes to a whole new world of peace and connectivity, one that has always existed and I just was not aware of it. After a few months of practicing with her, I started going to Bikram yoga (90 min classes) on my own time and fell in love with the heat and the sequence. Since moving to Dallas for college, I have been practicing at Corepower Yoga (in Mockingbird Station just minutes away from campus) and have found that their Hot Power Fusion classes lend a similar, but conveniently shorter (60 min) sequence to the Bikram classes I would go to in Nashville.
Every time I practice yoga I gain insight into something new. Most recently, I’ve experienced the benefits of setting an intention each class. I like to think of a reason for why I go to each class and then sum it up in a word or phrase that I can remind myself of throughout the class. This not only helps me to keep my focus on the class, but it also serves to link that hour of my time to the rest of my day and my life.
I have found that this works with other, and perhaps all, forms of exercise and time we take for ourselves. During my runs on the Katy Trail, I’ll remind myself of my intention for the workout when I start to get tired or lose motivation. It helps me remember that I do these things for myself and my body for a reason, and it makes the effects of the exercise so much greater.
So try it out! Next time you’re heading to the gym, the track, a cycling class, or whatever you choose to do for yourself, take a few minutes to think of a specific intention for why you are bringing yourself to wherever you are. Think about what you want to accomplish in that 30 minutes or an hour, and see if you can carry that intention with you throughout your workout and the rest of your day.