What’s your intention?
Intention setting may sound a little on the woo woo side of things but it’s one of the most practical tools you can use to make the most out of your practice and create positive change in your life.
Setting a clear intention- asking yourself the question ‘how do I want to feel’, allows you to get crystal clear on what you want so you can more efficiently move closer towards the benefits of your yoga or pilates practice and your personal goals.
If we don’t know what we want- It’s obviously much harder to receive the benefits from our practice and have those benefits diffuse into other aspects of ourselves and our lives.
Intention setting not only helps us to stay connected and calm throughout our practice but it also works wonders to help draw our attention back when our minds begin to wander.
So, how do you start?
It’s simple really. At the beginning of each class, take 2 minutes to check in and ask yourself what you need today.
That answer is your intention.
Here are 6 examples:
One Listen to my body. This intention of honouring and really listening to your body will enable you to gain so much more from your practice as you will be tuning into your body true needs instead of forcing or pushing yourself to stay into the pose without integrity. This not only hinders your physical practice but it also can cripple your spirit by doing something that isn’t benefiting your highest self. Taking a 30 second rest break and then getting back up will make you stronger and more resilient.
Two Steady breathing. You will have many opportunities to practice this one throughout your Hot Pilates or Hot Yoga class. Any time that you are experiencing intensity, setting your intention on your breath to make sure you are breathing long deep breaths…In for 2, out for 4, will help you in your day to day tasks. It will create a habit to breath when under pressure or stress which will then reduce the impact that stress has on your body. Less cortisol, more oxygen, more blood flow and a more peaceful YOU.
Three Body alignment. You think yes, I’m here, I’m doing really good. And yes you are right! If you experience the times that you do the poses for the sake of it, just to get through class, if you shift your focus to making sure you are in correct alignment (or ask your teacher for help) you will find that you will get way more joy out of it as you are really paying attention to your body. Every time you think of a specific body part, blood flows to that area. Plus the help with the Far Infra-Red heat, you are really helping your body heal from any inflammation, infection or muscle soreness. More blood flow, more oxygen travelling throughout your body.
Four Gratitude. Practicing the quality of being thankful, especially when you are in moments of intensity (sometimes this can even be downward dog). Choosing in that moment to show appreciation for and returning kindness to yourself or who or what you are specifically grateful for for example, I’m grateful to have my muscles and bones to hold me in this pose. I am grateful to be able to give myself one hour. I am going to be kind to myself and take a break as I am so grateful for my body and mind and I choose to treat it with love and respect and kindness.
Five Forgiveness. This is the art of letting go. You might notice that many thoughts are passing through you in class. If there are thoughts that come up that are self deprecating, acknowledge the thought and tell yourself that I forgive you (whether it is to yourself or another person. We are not our thoughts or behaviours that result from these thoughts. If you strip away everything we are pure joy and peace. The more you can acknowledge this and focus on this the more you can let go (forgive) of thoughts and beliefs that do not serve you (do not bring you joy and peace)
Six Learning. No matter if you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner, there is always at least one opportunity to learn something new in each moment of your life. We have experienced instructors in which are here for you and you are welcome to put your hand up any time throughout class or even grab them before or after class. Harlow is a place for learning and growth. Our concierge team are here to help as well and they will be able to help you choose classes to suit your current (ever-changing) needs. Making a conscious choice to enter each moment with an open mind to learn something new will not only reduce anxiety however give you more joy and you may find that you will start to see things differently and your experience will change.
By listening to your intention, you learn to trust yourself. From this, your body awareness is heightened enabling you to gain so many more benefits from your practice such as heightened relaxation, being more present and feeling a greater sense of peace.
So next time you come on to your mat, try setting an intention to heighten your experience and I promise you will begin to notice that when you change the way you look at things, what you look at will change.
By Elise Danielle