Today we explore the concept of intention—one of the core principles of what we do at Yoga Medicine. Most of us have a general understanding of what it is and why it is important, especially given the mindfulness we bring to yoga practice, but haven’t considered in detail how we form intentions or their potential to change outcomes.
To help us unpack the theory and practice of intention in more detail, host Rachel talks to returning guest, Diane Malaspina PhD. As well as teaching yoga, Diane has a B.S. in Psychology, a Masters degree in Education, and a PhD in educational and developmental psychology. Diane calls on her backgrounds in both science and yoga to explore the involvement of the brain in intention, as well as celebrating the more subtle role of the heart.
Listen in to hear how intention primes the brain for better pattern recognition, as well as the role dopamine plays in marking behaviors that get us closer to our aims. You’ll also hear how you might be trying too hard to create and hold fast to your intentions, how to harness the Default Mode Network to support a more receptive state in which deeper purpose can emerge, and how a vivid sensory and emotional understanding of your intentions makes them far more potent.
“The consciousness lives in the heart.” – Diane Malaspina PhD
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“The cool thing is that not everything can be studied by science.” – Diane Malaspina PhD
- Defining intention [4:09]
- How intention primes the brain for pattern recognition [7:01]
- Therapeutic intention: can intention change outcomes? [11:46]
- Practicing purpose: the relationship between intention and dopamine [16:17]
- How the Default Mode Network can create space for intentions to emerge [21:03]
- Ultradian rhythms and making time for intentional breaks [25:42]
- Using your visual field to reset your state of focus [30:01]
- Prior intention can prime us for faster and stronger action [31:26]
- Yoga philosophy, the purpose of yoga practice, and heart-centered intention [34:14]
- Harnessing senses and emotions to craft more potent intentions [41:36]
- What we can learn from athletes about the power of intention [45:25]
- Using questions and curiosity to form intention [50:27]
- Diane’s “MacGyver Method” to harness the Default Mode Network [51:58]
- Watch this episode on YouTube
- Yoga Medicine Podcast Episode 02: The Placebo Effect with Katja Bartsch, Part 1
- Yoga Medicine Podcast Episode 04: Find Ease in Uncertainty with Diane Malaspina PhD
- Inside the Yoga Sutras Online Course
- Working with Grief Online Course
- Exploring the Yamas through Meditation & Practice Online Course
- Mental Health & Wellness Yoga Teacher Training
- Yoga Medicine Online Guest Teacher
- Deane Shapiro, A Preliminary Study of Long-term Meditators: Goals, Effects, Religious Orientation, Cognitions. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1992,Vol. 24, No.1
- Stephan A. Schwartz, Therapeutic Intention: Into the Next Generation. EXPLORE, Volume 13
- Takarada, Y., Nozaki, D., Motivational goal-priming with or without awareness produces faster and stronger force exertion. Scientific Reports Vol. 8, 2018
- Wilson-Mendenhall, C.D., Dunne, J.D. & Davidson, R.J., Visualizing Compassion: Episodic Simulation as Contemplative Practice. Mindfulness, 2022
- Connect with Diane Malaspina:
“Intention alone is not enough.” – Rachel Land