Don’t Just Practice Yoga with Intention … LIVE with Intention

Sometimes we are made to feel that we should “have it all figured out.” 

Society says we are supposed to follow a certain life path involving career, family, retirement savings accounts, and, above all, not questioning the norm. 

For me, and probably for a lot of you yogis out there as well, this idea of the “norm” leads to a lot of confusion.

yoga-headstandThe Importance of Intention

Sometimes the idea of a house in the burbs with some kids sounds great, but other times traveling the globe and taking pictures of scenes that others may not ever see sounds like an extremely fulfilling way of spending my days.    

One of the many beautiful things about practicing yoga is that we are presented with the opportunity in every class to set an intention for the practice, and for our current lives.

And in order to set a meaningful intention, we have to bring our consciousness and awareness to what is actually happening in our lives and in our minds. 

We are allowed to question our current thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and daily routines. We are allowed to not be fearful of what the outcomes of this questioning could be. 

If we simply keep coasting through daily routines, never being mentally aware of how we feel about ourselves and our lives and the people in it, days rolls by and years later we’re not sure where the time went. 

Yoga is a huge part of how we can practice staying connected.

Yoga constantly reminds us to focus on our breathing, which ensures that our first and foremost thought is focused on right then and there in the studio, engaging our minds with the asanas that our bodies are going through.

Intentions Should Be Consistent, But Allowed To Change

Another beautiful thing about setting intentions, as my teacher Chrissy said in class recently, is that intentions can change from practice to practice, or even from moment to moment within a practice. 

It is our nature as human beings to have busy minds and constantly changing emotions. And that’s all right! 

Some moments in practice we can feel like we’re floating on air, while other moments cause stress and tension.

Some days we love everything about our lives, we feel so much gratitude just for waking up, and we can use those days to set an intention as high as the sky and as far as our dreams can reach. 

Other days, our bodies are stiff and the stresses in our lives are bringing us down. These days are perfect times to set intentions such as “be nice to ourselves” or “be grateful for having a job that causes stress when others are unemployed” or “really really enjoy the relaxation that savasana will allow once I get through this!” 

By practicing with intention every day, we also allow ourselves to push the restart button at any moment. 

Every new breath in every practice can (as corny as it sounds) be a chance to start over and get rid of anything in our lives that has been holding us back. 

Having practiced for a year before the old tradition of New Year’s Eve resolutions came about for 2013, I almost had to laugh at how big of a deal everyone makes out of them.  As yogis, every day is like a New Year’s resolution. 

We can make so much progress in our lives if we constantly are evaluating what we want and don’t want in out of life, as opposed to making excuses like, “Oh, next week or next year sounds like a great time to start that new diet.” 


I will end this post by saying that I falter all the time. 

I doubt myself more than I would like. 

No one is perfect, but the beauty of it all is that no one is ever expected to come to the mat “having it all figured out.” 

That is exactly why we come to the mat, and why we keep coming back — because it is a constant life practice of figuring it out little by little. 

In my personal life, instead of repeating patters of one step forward one step back, I hope that by keeping track of my intentions, the shifts that I experience will be continuously in a positive direction.

And hopefully the same is true for you too.

About Gail Rice

Some people start going to yoga classes for the physical benefits, some for the mental. Both ways are perfect because it’s your own practice. My practice has a strong aspect of both. I hope that sharing this gift with others is going to play a big part in my future. The Camino and yoga both have strengthened my trust in the universe, and so far the path has led me here, to be able to share this with all of you. Contact me: gail [at] pramodayoga [dot] com. Connect with me on Facebook.


  1. Jerod Morris says:

    Love this idea Gail. It’s great advice for yogis, but more importantly it’s great advice off the mat too. There is no reason to just let one day pass into the next when we can live each day with intention and consistently move ourselves forward.

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