Setting an intention or dedication for your yoga practice acts like a metaphor to translate your practice off your mat and into your life. It is a vehicle that makes yoga an aspect of your lifestyle, rather than something you do just for exercise.
Intention is different from dedication, which I’ll distinguish because it’s important to understand the purpose behind this practice.
What an intention really means
An intention is bringing your attention and awareness to a quality or virtue you wish to cultivate for your practice both on and off of your mat. Some examples of qualities or virtues you might use as your intention include: patience, gratitude, grace, being present in the moment, awareness of breath, love, forgiveness, letting go, releasing negativity, being open to receive, inner strength, or peacefulness.
By setting an intention you are building a bridge between what you work through on your mat, and what you continue to focus your mind on when you step off of your mat. This intention is a powerfully energetic tool to take your practice into the world.
In addition, as you continue to focus on your intention, even after class has finished, you uplift your energy and increase your vibration, thereby acting as an example to inspire the lives of those you encounter.
You are expressing your authentic truth by embodying this energy and keeping it with you.