The focus of this article is on learning about the journey of intention and how to begin exploring the power and magic of this journey in relation to living a yoga lifestyle.

Setting an intention in Yoga lays the foundation for your practice. How powerful an impact your intention will have will be dependant on various aspects such as stillness, silence, energy, commitment, values and alignment. To the degree these line up will be the degree to which you manifest what you intend.

Setting an Intention in Yoga

Why Set an Intention in Yoga

how to set an intention for a yoga practice

Living an Intentional Life

I cannot emphasis enough the importance of exploring the Power of Intention. It really is a foundational life skill that you need to be using in your life whether or not you happen to be living a yoga lifestyle.

So why is this setting an intention so important.

Imagine that you are aligned with the Secret of Secrets that is inside you.

You are aligned with the Source of all Creation that flows through you. As a result you KNOW what it is to feel truly fulfilled and from this fulfilment you pour forth blessings into the world that not only bless you but others.

You find purpose, passion, prosperity and Presence as a result.

In order to realize all of the above you would have to begin with the intention to do so.

In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link. – Carlos Castaneda

To manifest this you would have to make this a conscious choice that is supported by action. Otherwise, as happens, in most peoples lives what is made manifest is from unconscious intention.

The Problem with Intention

exploring the power of intention

The Way of Intention

Usually the problem with intention is that you do not know HOW TO develop it.

It was never part of your school curriculum. It is like a muscle that never got used.

This is a key muscle of your personal mind. Most people never use it and as a result they are used by the unconscious intention of the voice in their head that drives their energy system.

The servant takes over the Palace.

Yet intention is what sets you apart from all the other animal life on this planet. Most animals live from programmed responses. You have the ability to make choices. Choice begins with intention. Nothing happens without intention.

Only your Power of Intention isn’t really switched on.

For most people it is the Sleeping Beauty within that is asleep in the tower. This is the tower of their over-thinking mind that is forever on and usually forever old. If this sounds not at all flattering it isn’t.

So when you set an intention in Yoga usually there isn’t much power behind it because it is overridden by all the other unconscious intentions which have real emotional power behind them but which are kept out of consciousness because they are unapproved.

It is the same issue with the repetition of affirmations.

You might affirm, “I am beautiful and creative,” and inside your real feeling is that you are not at all like that. Your conscious mind, your subconscious mind and Supra conscious mind are not in alignment.

Exploring the Power of Intention

exploring the power of intention in yoga

Intentionally Shining Your Light

In order to explore the Power of Intention you really need three things which are NO-THINGS. These three things are:-

  • Commitment
  • Discipline and
  • Patience.

I take these three items from the core teachings of a book by Eric From entitled The Art of Loving.

Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling; it is a practice. ― Fromm, Eric, The Art of Loving

Exploring the Power of Intention is a journey. It is a paradoxical journey in that you come to a point where your intention follows the intention of Love. Your purpose and Love’s purpose flow in alignment.

This isn’t something that is achieved overnight. It is a lifelong exploration.

The Power of Intention in popular culture is now identified with what Mirabai Starr, writing in Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, calls the nonsense that is The Law of Attraction. This is where you decide that you will dictate to the Universe through the practice of Cosmic ordering.

This takes you away from the REAL Law of Attraction (Dr Liza Love) which is to express what is created to come through you.

I think that more often than not the Power of Intention begins with the fact that you really do not KNOW how to begin. There are so many choices to be made. What is it that you intend?

Tell me what do you intend to do with your one wild and precious life? – From The Summer Day by Mary Oliver.

Yoga and Intention – 1st Step

1st step in exploring how to set an intention in yoga

Moving to the Centre

This article is written for those who would like to explore the Power of Intention and its importance for living a Yoga Lifestyle.

If you are asking about setting an intention in yoga then it is safe to assume that you are practicing some style of yoga even if you do not follow one of the Paths of Yoga.

So I am sharing the Power of Intention and the journey of intention in relation to the practice of Yoga. Outside of Yoga your intentions might well be very different and in all likelihood, given the influence of the culture, will be.(The Law of Attraction)

When I write about yoga I am writing about the subject of REAL Yoga and its essential meaning and purpose.

Let me share with you my clear intention in writing this article which comes from a heart felt wish that I deeply love. This intention is taken from a line by the mystic poet Hafiz of Shiraz. Hafiz says:-

I wish that when you are lonely or in darkness that I could show you the astonishing Light of your own Being – Hafiz of Shiraz.

The reality of this heartfelt wish is that I cannot show you the astonishing Light of your own being. However, what I can do, and intend to do, is to point you in that direction.

From the direct experience of your own Being you will KNOW who and why you are. You will KNOW that there is so much more to who you think you are. You will be the KNOWING of Yoga. You will be the KNOWING of union.

So the way I invite you to begin to explore the Power of Intention is to explore a phrase related to an invitation. This invitation I call learning to Companion YOUR Greatness.

With this phrase you switch on your inner GPS.

The reality is however, that we are not at all used to being guided by your inner GPS. You are more used to the myriad voices in your head that drive you to distraction.

This takes us to the second step of the process of setting an intention in Yoga

Yoga and Intention – 2nd Step

yoga and intention of alignment with loves purpose

Alignment with Love’s Purpose

If you are already aware of what you intend to do with your one wild and precious life (Mary Oliver) then the rest of this article may not be of relevance. For those of you who are as yet unsure then read on.

If you are practicing Yoga then I invite you to explore the core intention of Yoga. This is to invite you to experience the core intention of Creation and align yourself with this core intention.

So what is the core intention of the Universe. It is to express as Love in form.

Creation, powered by the dynamic of Love, creates forms through which it loves to KNOW itself and express itself. Yoga is the direct experience of KNOWING that you are this LOVE expressing within the limitation of time and space and embodiment.

Your true purpose and prosperity will be found in intentionally aligning yourself with this purpose. It can be truly said that your purpose is to be allowing of Loves Purpose as it created you to express through you.

The key practice in alignment is in learning to be allowing.

Your core intention is then to allow yourself to KNOW what your true purpose is so that you might experience fulfilment and meaning. Out of this felt connection you will KNOW what you intend to do with your one wild and precious life.(Mary Oliver)

This is to be in alignment with and to Follow Love’s Purpose All other intentions are secondary to this primary intention.

Further Exploring Your Intention

further exploration of yoga and intention

Stepping into Love’s Purpose

To begin with this intention may not click with you. It doesn’t make you come alive. It isn’t something that you can grab a hold off. It is too vague. It’s too passive. There is no energy behind it.

All wisdom teaching, however, in one way or another point toward your being in alignment with this central intention.

By banishing doubt and trusting your intuitive feelings, you clear a space for the power of intention to flow through. – Wayne Dyer

Once you are in alignment with this then whatever is needed in your life tends to be manifested without effort.  I have found this to be the case in my own life. This is the promise of the Biblical phrase, “Seek yeh first the Kingdom of Heaven and all shall be added unto you.”

This, “Kingdom of Heaven” is not a place somewhere above but a state of awareness invited through the practice of REAL Yoga. It is an inner state. It is a silent state. It is an allowing state.

It is where you set your intention to be available to Creation rather than dictate to Creation as if it were some Cosmic ordering system for your personal benefit (The Law of Attraction).

When you intend to be a channel for the expression of Love’s Purpose then you begin to invite magic and miracle. You are not entering into states of consciousness from a focus on lack but from a willingness to have Creation pour through you.

In the beginning setting this kind of intention often feels less than lukewarm. However, with commitment, patience, practice and authenticity manifestation will begin to happen in what will be effortless ways.

The temptation, and it is a real temptation, is to begin to use the Power of Intention for your personal self-aggrandizement. (The Law of Attraction) This is one sure way of shutting it down.

When you get in the way you start to change the vibration and it slows down. You have to be really honest about your intention. Is it coming from a place where you truly wish the power of Love to positively impact you and other people’s lives? Or is it so that you can get more stuff.

Are you intent on being a servant of Love’s forever becoming without thought of reward? The ego doesn’t like this idea. If it is going to invest time in exploring intention it wants to be rewarded.

Setting Your Intention

silence and the power of setting an intention in yoga

In Tune with the Infinite

The way in which to set intention that will bring you ultimate fulfilment is through the following practice.

  • Enter silently within yourself to tune into your inner GPS
  • Set the intention to be in alignment with the Purpose of Love.
  • Be attentive to the level of excitement you experience from this practice.
  • Give gratitude for what is being given.

Usually to begin with there is the sense that nothing is happening. This is why you are required to be committed, patient and disciplined. (The Art of Loving)

Usually there are lots of unconscious blocks to feeling the power of being in alignment with Love’s purpose.

Your task is not to seek for Love but seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it – Rumi

This is because most of the time we are taught in different ways that we are never worthy enough. We think that in order to receive something of value we have to earn it.

The reality is that you do not have to earn the astonishing Light of you own Being. (Hafiz of Shiraz) You do have to be willing to trust in the magnificence of who and why you are.

This trust is natural to small children but you have had it knocked out of you during your upbringing. This happens to most everyone of us.

The Power of Silence

listening to your inner guidance

Be Still and KNOW

What tends to be a major block to manifesting the Purpose of Love through you is the incessant voice in your head. This is like a badly tuned radio. It is tuned into the never satisfied personal radio station called “Me, my and Mine.”

With this station ever on you cannot hear the Still Small Voice of Creation being broadcast through you that will guide you in ways of fulfilment. Note here that you are not to take the word ‘voice’ literally.

Through the portals of silence, the healing sun of wisdom and peace will shine upon you. – Paramahansa Yogananda

There may on occasion be heard a voice that gives you direction but in my personal experience this is very rare. In my lifetime this has only ever happened on two occasions.

In order to cultivate the Power of Intention you need to begin to cultivate a relationship with inner silence. Silence is the Gateway to true manifestation.

The best way to enter this Gateway is through any of the following practices:-

  • Corpse Pose – Savasana – Hatha Yoga.
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Meditation/Contemplation.
  • Prayer

Contemplation is the Christian practice of meditation.

The word prayer here means entering into a state of inner silence. It is not where you dictate to the Cosmos what you want even if it is well intentioned. Prayer here is the act of listening to your inner GPS.

Following Your True Heart’s Desire

the intention of yoga is to follow your true hearts desire

Yoga as The Flowering of Love

In the silent fellowship with yourself beyond the overthinking mind you pass through the Gateway into companionship. You enter the Field beyond right doing and wrongdoing. You drop judgement by simply witnessing it.

Then in this silence you state your intention three times. It is best that you really want what you are intending because with practice you are going to get it.

Let this intention be your true heart’s desire. In Yoga Nidra this is referred to as your Sankalpa. My Sankalpa is “Thy will be done.”

This follows an intention that is in alignment with the Divine Intention as it is intended to be expressed through the form that is my body. This is the experience of spiritual embodiment which is the will of Heaven being done on Earth.

This is not goal setting. This is not the Law of Attraction. This is being in alignment with Love’s Purpose.

After Setting Your Intention

yoga energy system

Alignment with Y-E-S (Your Energy System)

As Your Energy System (Y-E-S) is refined through this practice of intentionality pay attention to what happens during the day. Be especially aware of the following dynamics that will in all likelihood begin to appear such as:-

  • Synchronicity
  • Intuitive Invitations.
  • Ah Ha moments.

Also be aware that what is likely to happen is that the barriers within yourself that you have built against your Y-E-S will begin to manifest.

This is the meaning of the spiritual instruction from the Gospel of St Thomas that says:-

(2) [Jesus said], “Let him who seeks continue [seeking until] he finds. When he finds, [he will be amazed. And] when he becomes [amazed], he will rule. And [once he has ruled], he will [attain rest].”

With the practice of intentionality you are practicing alignment of your conscious, subconscious and Supra conscious mind. As a result what is resisted in your subconscious will arise to be recognised and healed.

Measuring Results

intention in yoga is related to the degree of trust

Results equal Trust in the Process

If you are in alignment with your soul purpose then you will find that you begin to manifest experiences and things with ease. It is as if life is simply happening through you. This is because you are training yourself to get out of the way.

You have committed yourself to become a channel of Grace. You are not dictating to the Universe (LOA). You are open and willing to have the Purpose of Love be your purpose. You are learning to move out of the overthinking personal mind into Awakening the Heart to following Love’s Message.

Your core intention is to express the will of Love as it created you to express through you. You don’t have to KNOW what that is to begin with. You do have to be willing to trust that it will be made KNOWN to you.

You have to be willing to enter a period of NOT KNOWING so that beyond that NOT KNOWING you can be KNOWN THROUGH. This is the real practice of faith. It is not the practice of belief which tends to be a construct of your personal mind.

This journey of intentionality is symbolised in the Biblical story of the Flight of the Jews from Egypt. This is your story. You leave the slavery of the overthinking mind (Egypt) to enter the dessert (NOT KNOWING) and to find the Promised Land (KNOWING).

Summary of Yoga and Intention

allowing yoga intention

Practicing Intention in Yoga

So I hope that this article gives you some food for thought as regard setting an intention in Yoga. Remember that this is a key Yoga life skill that I think will be of benefit to you and anyone who cares to explore such magical invitation.

It is not a one-off practice. It is a way of foundational living that introduces you to yourself in ways that the overthinking personal mind can never do.

You use this foundational skill of intentionally that sets you apart from all other sentient being on this planet. You begin to feel truly empowered in ways that you might never have imagined. You begin to Companion YOUR Greatness.

In the words of the poet Derek Walcott, “You will meet again the one who has loved you all your life. The one who knows you by heart.”

Let your practice be a celebration of life – Seido lee deBarros

Like the Prodigal Son/Daughter who left for exile in attachment to the idea of the separate personal self you Return to Love. You get to feast on your life. You become a living banquet that you share in blessing yourself and others. (Vacillation- W. B. Yeats)

You become a true co-Creator with Universal Intention. This is not as someone who is dictating to the Cosmos as regard what they want or feel they lack. This is alignment with what the Universe desires to be expressed through you.

I hope that you are encouraged to begin to explore the magical and empowering practice of learning how to set an intention in yoga. This is also a practice to explore even if you do not practice Yoga as it is understood in the West.

My recommendation is that you begin the practice of Yoga Nidra which can complement you practice of any style of Yoga you are presently doing

This is the way I practice setting such intentions. Maybe you do it differently.

If you have any questions or would like to share your own insights into this setting an intention in yoga process please share with myself and the readers.

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Tony Cuckson

Writer - Storyteller - Musician at Yoga Journey for Life
Writer of Awakening the Heart - 21 Ways for Following Love's Message. Also author of Being Beautiful - Learning to Treasure the REAL YOU. Workshop Leader in Learning to Companion YOUR Greatness.
Tony Cuckson
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