The Zen Buddhist approach to living a peaceful lifestyle is to set daily intentions every morning and evening. Intentions are powerful statements (that can be mantras or a sentence that resonates with you) used to amplify your manifestation power, mental clarity and focus, as well as your overall mind state and perspective.
Many yoga teachers will begin their class by asking students to set an intention for their individual practice. An intention also acts as a reminder throughout your yoga practice when your mind wanders or becomes distracted.
Mantras are commonly used by yogis as intentions for their yoga practice.
Setting an intention means choosing something that you want to amplify or cultivate (either on the mat or in your life). Intentions can be anything from staying focused on the breath, reflecting on what you have to be grateful for, repeating a specific mantra, or even just a simple word like “compassion,” “peace,” or “acceptance.”
If you want to learn more about what intentions are and how to set them, read Why We Set Intentions at the Beginning of Our Yoga Practice.
What are Mantras and How Can We Use Them in Our Yoga Practice?
Mantras are short statements that carry important meaning. Think of mantras as powerful affirmations that help invoke a positive shift in mind state. Mantras are commonly used by yogis as intentions for their yoga practice.
The benefit of using mantras as your intention for your time on the mat? They can truly make magic happen as you focus the energy of your mind on a particular goal (for example, staying focused on your breath during your yoga practice) or state of being (like gratitude, positivity, personal acceptance, etc).
Mantras are powerful affirmations that help invoke a shift in mind state.
When you apply this type of intention in your yoga practice, it creates a powerful focus and heightens your ability to manifest whatever it is you’re focusing on.
Here are 10 mantras you can use to set a powerful intention for your yoga practice:
1. I am that I am
“I am that I am,” or So Hum in Sanskrit, is an extremely powerful mantra because it connects you to the collective whole. You can recite “I am that I am” or practice this simple exercise: Sitting in Easy Pose (or Sukhasana) inhale seven breaths and chant “I am” and exhale seven times reciting “that I am.” This mantra makes us feel safe, supported, and in the flow with the entire universe.
2. I am grateful
Express gratitude for everything that you have in your life. Gratitude not only uplifts your heart but also nourishes your soul. By extending gratitude to yourself and all around you (health, wealth, career, relationships etc), you can help raise the vibration of the collective consciousness as well. Be grateful for all lessons, experiences, and situations – they have all aided in developing your character.
3. I am at peace
Reflecting on this mantra throughout your yoga practice, or in life in general (especially during emotionally charged situations), will always bring your awareness back to the present moment and remind you that nothing can disturb your deep well of inner peace. You alone are responsible for how you feel and react to circumstances. This will help you let go of the past and the uncertainty of the future by staying grounded in the stillness of the present.
4. I am a magnet for miracles
YOU ARE A MIRACLE! This powerful mantra evokes magic in your life. By setting this as an intention before you begin your yoga practice, you will find that you can become more aware of the everyday miracles that happen around you. From a bird singing at just the right time, to a spotting a rainbow on the horizon, small miracles happen all around us every day. Cultivating more awareness of these miracles is the easiest way to attract more into your life!
5. I am aware
This mantra really helps you connect your body with your mind. It allows you to align with your emotions and listen to your intuition as well as your physical body (which is key to a safe and strong yoga practice). Simply stand in Mountain Pose (or Tadasana) and recite “I am Aware.” Feel the strength coursing through you from Mother Earth – from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. Standing in your awareness (literally) is the gateway to higher states of consciousness.
6. I am awake
To be fully present means to be awake. What does being awake mean? It means that you are living with purpose and following your truth. By repeating “I am awake,” you open the door to living in the present and evolving into the person you are meant to be. Being fully present is such a powerful way to truly experience every aspect of the moment. When you’re fully present on the mat, you fully experience each breath, each movement and each moment.
7. I am perfect
Has anyone ever told you that you are perfect? Do you ever say this to yourself? You were born perfect and this statement is reminding you to not only accept yourself as you are, but to also believe in yourself. Being perfect does not mean to be without flaws, but rather to accept them and view yourself as perfectly imperfect, and complete just as you are. No judgments – only compassion, acceptance, and love.
8. I am one with humanity
When you recite this mantra, you come to realize that every single human being is connected. Humanity is not separate. During a yoga class, the energy in the room is interconnected – everyone is equal and there for the same purpose. This beautiful mantra reminds us that everyone has a gift within them to share, and needs to be honored and celebrated as such.
9. I am the light and the light is in me
In the yoga community, you may hear many refer to “the light.” What is this light? Light is the universal energy force you carry within, and also represents our basic essence that we are all born with. “Namaste” means “the light in me honors the light in you.” When you enter your yoga class, keep this in mind and view everyone there through this lens. Just like mantra #8, this helps us more relate and connect with others.
10. I am love
Love is the strongest force in the universe. This last mantra is here to remind you of your uniqueness and that you are made up of light and love! Always remember you contain an infinite supply of love within you. Close your eyes, place your hands over your heart and feel the floodgates of love pouring from you and into you. Love is who you are and why you exist!
You Are the Master of Your Universe
By putting the power of the mind to work in harmony with the power of words and the magic that is abundant in the universe, you can literally create your own reality. Raising your vibration has a domino effect on the rest of the world, and universal energy is amplified to help everyone live in their full power.
To end with a quote from Gary Zukav, “The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, and the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.”