Yoga Lingo: What you Need to Know about Intentions

Yoga Lingo what you need to know about intentions

Every week is a new opportunity for a new intention and the perfect moment to look for new outlooks. The great thing is, the dictionary is endless... Creating endless opportunities for us to explore words and give them new meanings. Want these in your inbox? Click here.

If you’ve been to a yoga class, you’ll have heard the teacher invite you to think of an intention you want to create for the duration of the class. Sometimes the teacher will even invite you to carry this intention through the rest of your day, too, to make it stay. 

When I first went to a class, I truly had no idea what the teacher meant. I had never been invited to choose an intention for myself, teachers usually provided it for me. It helped me see poses and sequences in a new light, with new questions, through new mindsets.






What is an intention and why do we need it?

For a long time, I didn’t know. For a long time, I went to yoga classes, took classes online where teachers invited us to choose one. Sometimes they said you could dedicate the practice to someone, to yourself, so that would be the option I’d go for. 
This is for x, y, z. This is for me. Easy. 

Then I became a yoga teacher and I finally understood what it meant to choose an intention for the class and it changed everything. Not that understanding what an intention was magically made it easier for me to come up with them; no, that still hasn’t changed.

I look for inspiration, for help.

Whenever I can, I dedicate some time to my intention for classes, through teachers who make it easier for me, through specific meditations, through cards (like in what I wrote about freedom link to article), through readings I do before getting into my practice. 

It changes everything; when there is no intention set, I feel like I am endlessly walking around with no goal. Because that’s what an intention is: a goal, a direction. Something you bring your attention to. It can be anything from an actual, physical change (this week I intend to go to parks or make more eye contact) to more conceptual ideas (this week I intend to catch myself when I am impatient or listen more before talking).

And what happens when you don’t have an intention? 

Improvised post-walk + meditation photoshoot from the Cerro de los 7 colores (the Hill of Seven Colors) in Purmamarca, Argentina

Improvised post-walk + meditation photoshoot from the Cerro de los 7 colores (the Hill of Seven Colors) in Purmamarca, Argentina

It can get as dangerous as walking around blind with no sticks or dog or noises and smells to guide you, really. It’s walking into a forest with no indicated path or compass in your hand. It’s tiptoeing in one direction, then the other, then maybe another one without really understanding why you decided to try any of them in the first place.

Sometimes I still find it very hard to come up with an intention.
I get impatient and I leave it ‘for later.’ But later never comes and I spend a week tiptoeing in the forest with no compass in my hand. So I get lost. And losing myself is a straight-forward reminder to go back to creating intentions and asking for help. So today, I am writing about intentions. Because I need the help of the dictionary to understand why it matters to have them, every.single.week, And maybe you need help creating your path in the forest, too...

If that sounds like something you struggle with, I invite you to get on Instagram at3pm EST/9pm CET today, Monday, March 5th to think about it live with me. It’s free, it’s open, it’s nothing fancy. Welcome :-)

signature ely bakouche linguistic yogi