Mantra Intention

In many of the yoga classes taught today, you will probably find that many instructors encourage the class to “set an intention” for the practice. This setting of the intention is typically done within the first minutes of class and can either be specifically assigned by the instructor or left open for the student. The inspiration behind the use of intention in certain schools of yoga is that said intention becomes a point of focus for the mind along with the breath to keep it stable and steady as well as dedicating energy to the manifestation or strengthening of the intention; in this way, the yoga practice becomes more than just a physical practice, but a moving meditation on various levels. For me, the fact that we do set an intention, something to mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually focus on along with the physical postures and movements is what makes yoga so magical and I why I love it so deeply.

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All that being said, it can be deeply challenging to choose an intention for your yoga practice and even more difficult to hold onto that intention throughout the class. Once you get going in the practice, it is very easy for the focus on the intention dwindle or even complete drop off. You may find yourself going over your to-do lists and what you need from the grocery store, or you may simply find yourself consumed by the physical efforts that are required of your body in the physical practice. Before you know it, class is cooling down and you never focused on your intention after the first sun salutation. This is completely normal and nothing to beat yourself up over – practice ahimsa (non-violence) – but obviously, we do want to work toward being able to hold our minds on an intention to strengthen our focus and the subject of the intention itself.

Something I have found that has really and truly helped me in my own practice is using a Mantra Intention. A Mantra in Hindu and Buddhist tradition is a word, phrase, or sound that “is repeated to aid concentration and meditation”. Additionally, one of the ideas behind the use of mantra is that it is again representative of something you’d like to bring into manifestation; your meditative concentration on it, feeding it energy, helps to strengthen your pull of it to realization. Sounds like a perfect fit for a yoga practice, right? It is! Having just one word or a short phrase to focus on as you move throughout the practice makes concentration upon it much more attainable, in my opinion and experience.

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Recently in my practice, I have been using a couple of different mantras depending on the day. On many days, I use this phrase as my mantra “my words will touch and impact”, which is me willing the words I write to have the power to touch other people and have some sort of impact on them as this is what I believe to be my calling. Other days, when I am feeling rundown or unstable, I simply use the word, “strength,” as my mantra to draw in mental and emotional strength as I am building strength in my body through the practice. By reciting the mantra on each inhale and each exhale, I am better able to see it as my intention the whole way through my practice.

So, if you are finding the challenges discussed above in your own practice when it comes to intention, maybe try setting a Mantra Intention the next time you are on your mat. Try this:

 Find your mantra:

Check in with yourself and ask how you are feeling right now.

Do you need to receive more of something?

If the answer is yes, what is it that you need? Strength, stability, positivity, joy, or something else?

Choose the word or short phrase that best represents your need and set this as your Mantra Intention.

OR

 Do you want to send something else strength and energy?

If the answer is yes, what is it that you want to send out? Gratitude to a higher power, love to a friend or family member, positive energy to a project or cause of yours?

Choose a word or phrase that can be a representation of what you are going to be sending out and set this as you Mantra Intention.

Set the rhythm of your mantra:

In all yoga, the emphasis on the breath of the practice is of the upmost importance. Attach your mantra to this.

Inhale for 5-6 counts in and mentally recite your mantra –

Pause for a small moment in between –

Exhale for 5-6 counts out and mentally recite your mantra.

Try to continue this rhythm and recitation with each round of breath.

Enjoy your practice:

No matter how closely you keep your mantra, enjoy the time and space you made for yourself by getting on your mat in the first place!

Please let me know of this use of Mantra Intention in your practice is something that you find of benefit in the comments below!

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