The Power of Intentions

Power of Intentions

Intentions are powerful. Salkalpa is the Sanskrit word for our intention and could be compared to planting a seed. Just like a seed, we must be aware of what we are planting and nourish that seed to see that intention manifest in our world. 

Setting intentions has everything to do with what we feel we are worthy of in this world, and then having the courage to ask for what we want. Yoga is one way of holding a conversation with that something that is larger than us. Setting your Sankalpa is a way of asking to be known by the Universe. Through that seed of desire, you’ll come to understand yourself perhaps better than by any other way. Yoga is a practice of becoming mindful, and conditioning body, mind, and spirit to do something about our intentions. It is preparing the soil for our intentions to grow.

Preparing the Soil

We prepare the soil of our intentions by making the time (even just a few minutes daily) to clear the chatter in our minds. Clear your mind, and then tune in and plant the seed of what you want. The seed you plant, your Sankalpa, could be for greater health, mental or spiritual clarity, an improved relationship, a better work situation, financial abundance, world peace, a lifetime supply of chocolate, or anything else.

As we start our yoga or meditation practice, we give ourselves a moment to reflect on why we are practicing, even if what we need or want seems like it has nothing to do with yoga postures. Then, as we practice, each step, each breath, each yoga posture, is a move forward, in that direction, a dedication to our Sankalpa.

Our internal conversation could go something like, “I may not know what to do to help make the world more peaceful, but that is my intention and at this moment silencing my distractions and practicing Warrior II is the step I’m taking toward that end.” Remember that yoga is a gift to help us understand a bigger picture of who we are. With that greater experience and knowledge, with that health and clarity, we have the tools to accomplish what we set out for. At other times, our attention and effort of yoga are a type of preparation, so that we eventually can see more clearly and act more purposefully.

Some might even see yoga practice best as a prayer in body and breath. In any case, it is starting the conversation with the universe regarding what we’d like to see grow in our lives.


Beware of Unconscious Intentions

Whether consciously or not, or with clear wise purpose or not, we are intending things all the time. Where are you putting your mental, emotional, and physical energy? Like one of my teachers, Judith Lasater says, “What is worrying, but praying for what you don’t want.”

So, what do you want? Put it out there. Then work and watch and see how God or the Universe or the Divine part of yourself responds. Be open to possibility and ready to learn from that response. Through our Sankalpa we aligning ourselves with what’s bigger. Through Sankalpa, you’ll discover how the divine is manifesting as you.

As you consider what you need or want in your life, go to your yoga mat or meditation cushion with this intention and place it on the altar of your heart. Plant the seed through your practice and watch how it grows.

The following is a very old mantra (taken from a hymn in the Rigveda) that you may want to learn as you are working with your Sankalpa.

Gayatri Mantra

(translation by Dona Fari in her book Bringing Yoga to Life)


Everything on the earth and in the sky and in between
Is arising from one effulgent source.
If my thoughts, words, and deeds
Reflected a complete understanding of this unity,
I would be the peace I am seeking in this moment

o bhur bhuva svaa
tat savitur vare
ya
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yo na
pracodayat

 

Photo by Alex Adams

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

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