Over the years, I have been notoriously bad at keeping New Year’s resolutions to the point that I just stopped making them. I mean who really wants to put that kind of pressure on themselves?? Am I right? One year I made so many resolutions that I overwhelmed myself and fell into a serious funk because I set myself up to fail.
Since that time, yoga has become a big part of my existence and has changed my perspective on how to approach resolutions. Sankalpa! Often used in Yoga Nidra, sankalpa helps create a clear line of sight in the direction of your deepest desires and helps you get clear on your intentions.
Sankalpa: Thought, intention, or will directed toward a specific outcome.
Sounds a lot like resolutions, right? It’s easy to think they are the same, but Sankalpa has a more minful approach to how we acheive our goals. It’s this apporach that makes the difference between whether we keep our resolutions or abandon them altogether.
First things first:
Take some time to sit alone to reflect on where you’ve been(your past) and where you are going(your future). Make a list of the areas of your life you want to improve. What are your goals? How do you want to feel? Write it down.
Decide which ONE goal is most important to you. Formulate one sentence that encapsulates that one goal of where you want to be. There can only be ONE sankalpa. Let’s go for quality over quantity and having a single focus is key. One sankalpa ensures that you have a single point of focus that warrants your full attention….unlike having several resolutions where it is difficult to give each one the same amount of attention….resulting is the chance for failure in one or more areas.
Now, to create your sankalpa, don’t just ask for WHAT you want to acheive, ask WHY you want to acheive it. Simply saying, “I want a better job so I can make more money.” is very surface. What’s beneath that at the root of what a better job can do for you? How will it make you feel if you had that better job? Maybe you might feel more confident, secure, valued. By getting to the roots of why you want to acheive the goal of making more money and incorporating those things into your sankalpa may create a result that was greater than the original goal by inspiring you to branch out into your community, family and affirm the relationship with yourself.
Your sankalpa is above all an affirmation!!! How you word it is crucial to creating the correct energetic vibration to send out into the Universe. Your sankalpa should be short, about you and only you, stated in a positive way and in the present tense. If you think about how you speak to yourself or others in a very general, everyday basis, you may find that much of your language can take on a negative slant. Whether it’s benign complaints or using words like, not, don’t, can’t, etc., we unconsciously create a world that perhaps isn’t serving our highest good. Even the subject matter we choose to focus our energy on, even when we mean well, can create a contradictory experience from the one we were hoping for. For example, you could phrase your sankalpa, “I am free from addiction.” if your goal is to stop smoking, but the emphasis is on addiction which is negative in nature. So getting to the root of WHY the addiction existsin the first place is key to freeing yourself up for a healthier life.
The two most powerful words in our language are “I am”, so whatever follows that is creating your future. Think about it. Whenever you say, “I am tired.”, you are affirming that very thing and the Universe delivers that to you and you begin to yawn. We underestimate the power of our words, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to not only our words, but our thoughts as well.
When we create our sankalpa, we also must make it only about ourselves. We are the only people who’s lives we have control over. So your sankalpa cannot be used to try and change another person. Be sure to use words like “I” or “my” in your wording.
State your sankalpa in the present tense. If you state it in the future, it will always be in the future and never come to fruition. Here’s a few examples….”I enjoy perfect health.”, “I am at peace with myself.”, “I am secure in myself.”, ” I trust that my Higher Seflf fulfills all my needs.” Each of these statements is a short, personal, positive affirmation in the present tense. Also, they get at the root of WHY most bad habits or destructive behaviors exist or persist in the first place. Most people have a difficult time being at peace with themselves, so by affirming, “I am at peace with myself.” is a powerful and universal sankalpa that can be used by anyone.
The practice of creating a sankalpa is one you can do at the beginning of every yoga practice. Simply stating,”I am at peace with myself.” helps you meet yourself where you are in that moment with love and acceptance and opens the vibrational gateway to more peace`in the future.
Happy, Healthy and Harmonious New Year!