In my experience New Year’s resolutions are often made from the feeling that we are somehow not good enough or not doing enough. Here are some of my past resolutions, “I will lose 10lbs and exercise more”; “I will meditate twice a day”; and “from now on I will be kinder to strangers, especially drivers.” Sound familiar? The messages I was sending to myself were that I was not healthy, kind or committed to my practice enough. Making a promise to ourselves that is steeped in a sense of not being good enough and loaded with negative energy does not set us up for success. I never liked setting New Year’s resolutions until I started practicing yoga and learned the word Sankalpa.
A Different Kind of Resolution
Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word derived from the words San meaning “an intention from our highest truth” and Kalpa, which is “a rule to follow above all others”. Sankalpas are infused with positive energy and based on tuning into the inner wisdom of the heart. So, a sankalpa is a commitment in support of realizing your deep heartfelt desires. We remember here that it’s not so much what we wish to change, but how we go about making that change. The sankalpa becomes a statement you can call upon to connect yourself to your true nature and guide your choices.
How to Set a Sankalpa
Meditate on it: Spend some quiet time reflecting in your journal. Note how your typical resolutions make you feel and note how successful you been in achieving them in the past. Then reflect on how you would like to feel in the upcoming year. Abundant, loved, lighter, energetic, joyful? Let this feeling take over as you set your intentions. Begin to realize you are already these things and more.
Start with a Positive: Setting a Sankalpa begins with praise and gratitude. It’s vital to set the intention from a mindset of abundance rather than lack. Create your intention in the present tense. Write a short sentence with your intention but make sure it’s positive. For example in the past your resolution may have sounded like this, “This year I will find true love”, but the sankalpa version would be “I am whole and loved and open to what life brings me this year.” Now your intentions are set with a feeling of peace and stability, and your actions to achieve your intention will stay connected to your heart center.
Wait and Revisit: Change doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient while making consistent sustainable effort towards your intention. The best part of setting a Sankalpa is that you can incorporate it into your daily routine. Use it as your intention when you roll out your yoga mat or sit on your meditation cushion. Print it out, post it on your computer, phone, or mirror; or simply say it to yourself quietly before going to bed. Unlike New Year’s resolutions, which most people abandon after a few weeks, a sankalpa is an inspired intention that you can revisit as often as you desire.
My Sankalpa for the year? I am healthy, joyful, abundant and supported on my path. I take time to remember this truth daily and I radiate peace and positivity.
Yogis know the power of setting an intention from the heart and how to take dedicated action towards that goal but they also know that leaving plenty of space for Divine timing and trust in the Universe is the key to success. This year let’s start a New Year’s revolution by rethinking how we set resolutions and set Sankalpa’s instead.
Wishing you Vibrant Living,