In many of our classes, we encourage students to set an intention for their practice such as to practice with compassion for yourself, to practice without competing, or to pay more attention to your breath. Any intention is powerful and can help direct and guide your practice. You can change your intention every day to support you in whatever way you need.
A Sankalpa is a different kind of resolution from the yoga tradition. If you’ve attended regular classes at the studio, you may be familiar with the Sanskrit term. We use it regularly in our iRest® Yoga Nidra classes, because it is the first of the 10 steps of iRest, but we also use it quite often in our ongoing classes, especially when we include a Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) practice during relaxation.
A Sankalpa is like an intention, but even more powerful. San is truth and Kalpa is a vow. Sankalpa is an intention that we set, or a vow we make, to support our dharma, or highest purpose in life. A core belief in yoga is that our sankalpa supports our higher purpose, and therefore, it will be natural for us to stick with it. Unlike a resolution, which usually stems from cultural influences or ego, a sankalpa is a reminder that helps us make choices and guide our actions to stay true to who we already are—to live in harmony with our highest truth and purpose.
Instead of a New Year’s resolution this year, consider spending some time crafting a heartfelt Sankalpa. If you have a meditation practice, set an intention to create a sankalpa before your meditation and see what surfaces. Ask yourself what you most want in this lifetime. Once you have something that resonates, try using it for awhile. It may evolve over time, or it may become your guide for many new years to come. Put your Sankalpa in the form of a positive “I” statement, such as:
I am healthy and happy.
I am centered and calm.
I live from a place of truth and integrity.