In each class I teach I usually suggest to the students to offer their practice to someone other than themselves. Intention setting in a yoga class is designed to take the “ego” out of our practice .
If you think about it, we are setting intentions all day long. They may not be conscious but non the less they still are being set.
There is a saying in the Upanishads:
“Watch your thoughts; they become your words.
Watch your words; they become your actions.
Watch your actions ; they become your habits.
Watch your habits; they become your character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.”
Every time we have a thought we are planting seeds. A steady yoga practice develops awareness; consciousness. It enables us to have a little more space between our thoughts and our reaction time. It helps us to see that we can choose how to act in a given situation.
The more awareness we develop the more able we are to set our intentions deliberately. Instead of letting our minds dictate to us what to believe, we begin to realize we can choose our thoughts. This is the way to a conscious life. We may not be able to control the outcome of a situation, but we can control what we think, say and do. We can create a positive intention, and then…..let go, and trust the Divine to move us in the direction we have set for ourselves. Just as a seed which contains the hidden potential to grow into a flower or tree with the help of good soil, rain and sunlight, our thoughts contain hidden potential as well. Why not plant thoughts that uplift our life and the lives of others?