My very first experience with yoga was actually in the form of a weightloss yoga dvd about 8 or 9 years ago(woah!). I had no other reason to do yoga other than to lose the muffintop over my jeans.
Naturally, my reasons for doing yoga have shifted with time. The practice is no longer just physical, but it is very much also mental and spiritual now. Setting an intention is so good for bringing your mind into yoga rather than just doing the asana (physical poses) and still having your mind race with thoughts. An intention can be a word or phrase that you want to keep repeating to yourself as a way to improve your state of mind and as a way to manifest what you want in your yoga practice or in life in general.
This summer I have been struggling with thinking that I’m not good enough. In many ways. I kept thinking of what I lack rather than what I have. While practicing yoga I’ve been using the same intention for quite a few sessions on my mat lately. That intention is “Trust God”. Meditating on this phrase while doing yoga reminds me that I’m not foresaken, and that He has bigger plans for me.
Another intention I’ve used is the intention of focusing on my breath because when practicing yoga it’s easy to accidently hold your breath when for example you’re concentrating on doing dancer’s pose or a headstand. Doing that actually makes the poses harder though. So with that intention I keep coming back to breathing deep. I’ve also used the intention of focusing good energy and honoring somebody that I love. During that kind of practice, I try to give my best expression of each pose as if it was a gift for them.
There are a million and one intentions you could have for your yoga practice. Try it. I’m sure it will be a much better experience than being in downward dog and thinking about what groceries you need to buy at the farmer’s market after class or the projects at work that are making you stressed before you even start.