Before we dive right into mantra’s, I’d like to take a moment and talk about setting intentions. What it means to create one and how to carry it with you on and off the mat (which is where the mantra comes into play).

Intentions and mantra’s have similarities, however they are a bit different. Creating an intention is the starting the foundation of where you’d like to go; a map if you will. Once you have created your map the mantra; a word, phrase or sound helps keep you in the direction that you want to go towards.

Typically at the beginning of each yoga class (and the ones I teach) we are asked to set an intention, it is personal and doesn’t always have to be for yourself. It could be for a loved one, a higher power that you believe in, or even for someone you don’t know. It is during this time we are settling into a calm and positive attitude – allowing ourselves to begin on this particular path; in creating a result we are looking for.

arm balance This intention that you have set creates space for success and positive energy to be put out into universe. You know that saying that goes something along the lines of – if you put positive energy out there, you will receive it. That’s what you’re doing here with your intention – you’re drawing the path to allow for only positive energy to reach you.

The idea with the intention that you have created is: what you work through on your yoga mat is the path that you will continue to walk once you’ve stepped off that mat; taking this beautiful positive energy with you out into the world.

Most often, the intentions that I set during a class are not for myself (my mantra however, is personal for me). They are for my family, or maybe a specific friend that I think needs a little extra zap of energy from the universe.

There are numerous intentions that one can set during their time on the yoga mat. A few examples of intentions are: being present in the moment, inner strength, patience, letting go, being happy at work.

Taking what you’ve worked through on the mat – the difficult pose that you’ve found yourself in (chair pose for the one-hundredth time) and holding it for the 6 seconds longer than the first round. You think to yourself “this is hard, why am I even doing this!?” but what do you do? Did you stick with it; did your mind come back to your intention, did you remember to focus on your breathing? Or did you let the pose go?

I have to be honest here and say that yes for a very long time I let my poses go every time I felt too overwhelmed.

I wanted it to end, and I just couldn’t figure out how to bring that focus back to my intention or my breathing. After a while I realized that shifting my focus back to my intention was how I could battle feeling overwhelmed by a specific pose, and perhaps being able to continue moving through the path.

When I take this approach of coming back to what I created at the start of my yoga practice off my mat, and take a look into my daily life, I see that those difficult moments on the mat apply to the challenges I face daily. And once I was mindful of that I can now easily come back to my intention and see the path that I have created for myself and work towards that purpose.

The intentions that you set should be in a positive nature, and should be able to evolve with your life and progress. It’s a constant journey that you grow with, and you should be able to go off the path and create new ones when its time!

I’d love to hear about your experiences with intentions on and off the mat!