If you’re new to the world of instructing, you might be new to yoga class intentions and how to set them. That being said, we have a useful guide taking you through:What Does it Mean to Set an Intention in Yoga?

Just before we begin, if you are yet to get your qualification, you can get industry ready with a level 3 diploma in yoga instructing here at OriGym! Find this and many more health and fitness courses in our downloadable course prospectus.


What Does it Mean to Set an Intention in Yoga?

yoga class intentions

To set an intention, otherwise known as a Sankalpa in Sanskrit, has a deep meaning embedded in the practice, which is why you should dissect the word Sankalpa to understand the true meaning.

The first half of the word, San, means “to become one with” or “to connect with the highest truth”, while the latter half of the word “Kalpa” means “the rule to be followed over all over rules”.

With those meanings at the core of what it is to set yoga intentions, you can begin to understand the significance of setting a yoga intention. 

setting an intention for yoga class

It is said that there are two parts of setting an intention, these include:

  • The self affirmation (Not something to work toward, something to affirm about yourself)
  • The intention (Not to be confused with the pressure of a goal, it should come from within)

Setting an intention in a yoga class can be done before your class even begins. If you feel a particular message from within that you want to home in on when your practice begins, your yoga class provides the perfect opportunity for you to do this. 

Now that you know what one is, implementing it as the instructor should be approached with care, not force or obligation. 

5 Tips for Setting an Intention for Your Yoga Class

Below, we have 5 tips that as the yoga instructor you should be thinking about before implementing intentions. 

#1 Base Your Intention off the Style of Yoga

setting an intention in yoga class

One simple way to cultivate some ideas for yoga intentions for class is to base them off of the style of yoga that you’re teaching. 

This can be easier than you think, for example, your intentions don’t always have to be spiritual. While they often are and that is a good way to implement intentions, they can also be simple and even measurable, an example being:

To begin a weight loss journey

This is a good intention for the likes of Bikram yoga, in which the intensity is high since it is a style of hot yoga. Many people who choose hot yoga could be there for weight loss purposes so this could be a common intention.

This is a prime example of how to relate an intention to the style and this way, you’re much more likely to relate the intention to what your class actually wants. 

#2 Think About What Intention for Your Yoga Class Would be Accepted Positively 

intentions for yoga class

Linking to what we mentioned previously about your class’ reception of the intention, you should be thinking about what your class actually wants.

This means thinking outside the box. Don’t be biassed when it comes to setting intentions, because this can be a natural habit that we have as human beings. Essentially, this just means that you need to detach from your own intentions and think about the benefit of the class.

For example, simple intentions like:

“To be happy” 

This is an intention that can apply to any class member’s own thought process and it will for sure be accepted positively. It might seem like common sense but in order to have intentions that are accepted positively, avoid anything that can give off negative energy.

For example, intentions such as “Revenge” are inherently negative. This should be a big no no, you don’t want people thinking about how they’ve been wronged in their time with you in the studio. 

You want quite the opposite, that’s why popular intentions such as “Letting go” can be much more beneficial for your class.

If the idea of having this creative control over a class interests you, be sure to check out our article detailing how to become a yoga instructor.

#3 Keep in Mind Who is in Your Yoga Class

yoga intentions for class

No two yoga classes are the same, you can have different yoga class themes, styles and members which means you need to take this into consideration when coming up with your intention. 

That means that regardless of what you had planned that day, you always want the best for your members in the class so keep in mind that these plans could change depending on who is in your class.

For example, say you have a regular intermediate class of yogi’s who are showing great progress and advancements. This class might have more complicated intentions since they’re so accustomed to how the session plays out. 

However, if a newcomer enters the class, you wouldn’t want to intimidate them with anything too complicated. Thus, take care and pay attention to who is in your class and ensure that you’re aware of any newcomers.

yoga class intentions examples

If not, they might become deterred from a class that feels too advanced for them. 

For example, you might need to start from basics and have a simple intention that is just set for the class duration if there are newbies in the class. However, if you have a class that you know are advanced yogi’s you can take the opportunity to implement some more advanced intentions.

This might mean that you ask your class members to make an intention for the week. This helps interlink the meaning of yoga into their everyday life and can eventually see them becoming less reactive. 

Many people join yoga to de-stress which can allow them to take lessons that they have learnt into their everyday life. This is the ultimate goal for the class, which is definitely possible when using yoga class intentions to work into their life. 

#4 Ask for Feedback on what Your Class would Prefer for their Yoga Intention

yoga class intentions and examples

Another tip for setting an intention in a yoga class is to find out what it is that your class wants.

The only way to do this is to utilise feedback. There is nothing more valuable than finding out (truly) what your class wants aside from what you simply expect.

For example, like we mentioned earlier about natural biases, you may feel confident in your intentions but how do you know for sure that your class is happy with it? There are some simple solutions to this.

First off, you can of course communicate in general conversation. Ask your class what their favourite intention has been or have a brainstorm as a group 5 minutes before class so those who feel confident enough can speak up and let you know. 

However, not everybody is comfortable with communicating in large groups and that is totally normal, but their voice still should be heard. That being said, you can also use the likes of feedback forms that are anonymous so class members can be completely transparent.

This is what is going to benefit you the most, even if it does damage your ego!

intention for yoga class

Something you can do is leave these forms on peoples mats by their equipment at the beginning of the class so that at the end, they can fill them out and pop them into a box on the way out. Similarly, another way to do this is to utilise the internet.

It has never been easier to use the likes of Google Forms, in which you can distribute the link among social media or even email addresses should you have them. This makes it easier for clients to fill them out and even makes it easier for you to handle the data that you’ll have.

Of course then the next step would be to act accordingly. You might receive special requests, such as particular intentions that they might find helpful or even ones that they liked the least so you could change it up the next week.

All of these are extremely valuable pieces of feedback that can really help you improve how you implement your yoga intentions.

#5 Explain The Benefits of Intentions for Your Yoga Class Members

yoga intention

One final tip on how to set an intention in yoga is to explain to your class the benefits behind it and why you are implementing it in the first place. 

If your class has never even heard of the word intention in conjunction with yoga, they’re definitely not going to know the benefits of it. Nonetheless, this is a perfect opportunity to educate your class and to further their knowledge since the more they know, the better they will become. 

Once your class understands the benefits of setting the intention, they will be able to give valuable feedback on what they prefer and which intentions they feel would benefit them overall. 

Since becoming self-aware and looking within is at the core of yoga, remembering how clear set intentions can assist in this is hugely beneficial for your class. 

The reason behind this is because some people can struggle to find this inner peace, particularly if they are accustomed to shoving their feelings aside.  

Yoga provides an escape away from the chaos of day-to-day life, therefore by explaining to your class that setting an intention for instance “To take time for yourself and to stay calm” can reinforce the reason why they’re there. 

Not only that, but you can also explain that you don’t have to just keep that intention close during the session, but carry it into their daily life too.


For some more helpful resources on how to teach yoga classes with all the right elements involved, head over to our articles below:

11 Yoga Class Intentions Examples

 what does it mean to set an intention in yoga

Here you can find a list of some yoga class intentions examples for you to use and take inspiration from.

#1 Gratitude: Often, gratitude can be overlooked. This is a good intention for your class to independently think about what they’re grateful for this week and to take this conscious effort of showing gratitude into their everyday life. 

#2 Letting Go: Letting go is a common theme for those who may be overcoming struggles and are using yoga to move forward. 

#3 Acceptance for what you cannot control: Worries overcome everybody, by setting this intention, you can allow your students to get to the root of their worries and try to accept the inevitable.

how to set an intention in yoga

#4 Reacting with positivity and lovingness: Negative reactions can stem from stress that we hold from within. Often we may project our own feelings by overreacting to others so an intention to react with positivity can plant a seed to carry this into everyday life.

#5 Understanding: Being more understanding is something everything can apply to their own life, it is an intention that can be used for a beginners class since it is so broad and holistic it is likely to be accepted well.

#6 Self Love: Self love is something that most people need some more of, setting this intention for any level of class can help to have them leave in a positive mood with some refreshing thoughts.

#7 Prosperity: The good thing about this intention is that it can be applied to each and every person since it doesn’t mean success in one way, meaning your student might want prosperity in terms of improving in yoga. Similarly, they might want prosperity to manifest in their everyday lives, maybe they have a job interview coming up they could apply this intention to!

how to set an intention in yoga class

#8 Healing: Healing can come in many forms. Whether it is self healing or helping others around you heal, it can be applied to any level of yoga since more often than not, your students will have gone through something negative in their life that they will need help recovering from no matter how big or small.

#9 Hope: Never losing hope is a positive way to look at life. You should set this intention of hope at any time, but this might become particularly apparent when something happens in the world. For example, a tragedy could occur in your area which is weighing heavy on the community, this might be a good time to use this intention.

#10 Spirituality: It is certainly not uncommon for people to take up yoga to find some level of spirituality within it. Since there are huge spiritual aspects to yoga like prayers and mantras, this can be a good intention for any level or any session.

#11 Healing the Chakras: Finally, after some feedback from a spiritual session, your class might enjoy learning more about the Chakras. Setting the intention of healing a Chakra or more than one Chakra can help open the door to spirituality further. 

Before You Go…

Hopefully you feel more confident in how to set intentions and how much of a positive impact it can have on your classes. 

Try it out yourself in your next yoga session and see how much it evolves over time!

Don’t forget, if you’re ready to kick start your career in yoga instructing, check out OriGym’s Yoga instructing courses here. Find this and many other health and fitness courses here in our downloadable course prospectus.


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About the Author: Kimberley Mitchell

kimberley mitchell origym authour
Having gained a B.A Hons degree in Media, Culture and Communications, Kimberley has gained experience in areas of web journalism, website production and marketing. Alongside this, Kim expanded her knowledge and passion for fitness, by becoming a fully qualified fitness instructuor and personal trainer. Kim has also gained specialist qualifications in yoga, nutriton, spin and many more. After working in the industry as a PT, Kimberley went on to study an MA in Digital Marketing and continues to expand her knowledge in the industry. Her main focus is to keep up with current trends and communications with a focus around health & fitness, writing and being creative.

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