31: The Power of Intention with Diane Malaspina PhD

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


“The cool thing is that not everything can be studied by science.” – Diane Malaspina PhD

Show Notes:

  • 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]

Links Mentioned:

Facebook | Instagram | Diane Malaspina

“Intention alone is not enough.” – Rachel Land

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