Yogic Sankalpas

heidi-sloss-logo-icon-high-resFor a New Year’s Day yoga class, I used the theme of creating a sankalpa. Kalpa means vow; san means a connection to a higher truth so Sankalpa is a vow or commitment we make to support our highest truth. It speaks to our dharma, our overriding purpose for our life. And our current sankalpa becomes a statement we can call upon to remind us of our true nature and will guide our choices.

Many refer to a sankalpa as deep resolve, like a resolution but different. A sankalpa involves focusing our mind, connecting to our most heartfelt desires and then channeling the divine energy within.

Sankalpas also differ from a typical New Year’s resolution in that they are expressed in positive, present tense statements that are significant, heartfelt and connected to the essence of our very being. It can instruct our subconscious mind, like a mantra, reminding us that we are timeless and perfect—a state of pure being.

To find a Sankalpa that is right for you for this year, start with the willingness to hear the messenger within. It takes courage to listen to our hearts, without ego or superficial desire. This is done by cultivating an open heart with a quiet and settled mind in meditation.

Questions to ask during meditation to find a meaningful and significant sankalpa are: What do I really want? What is the longing in my heart? What am I seeking? What do I yearn for?

A powerful sankalpa is a statement of a deeply held fact, a vow that is true in the present moment. It begins with I AM. It is not a prayer and it does not start with I WANT or I WILL. It is short and positive and meaningful, much deeper than a New Year’s resolution. It can be long term as opposed to just one year.

So when I wanted to lose weight 6 years ago, I didn’t do it by making the traditional New Year’s resolution of “I will lose weight” in order to look good for photos. Instead, my ability to lose weight came from a deep desire to be healthy and my motivation was not to be a burden to my children as I aged. I told myself that I AM healthy and strong and safe (one of my emotional triggers). It still took lots of discipline and commitment, but I connected to my inner being. I held onto the image of myself as strong, independent and was able to finally lose 55 lbs. over that year.

Some examples of sankalpas are:

I am awake and aware. I am happy, healthy and whole. I am calm, peaceful and relaxed.
I take great care of my body. In every interaction, I treat myself and other with kindness.
I am safe, I am healthy and I am loved. I am love.

I wish you great luck in listening for your sankalpa for 2017.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

19 thoughts on “Yogic Sankalpas

    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Glad you like using affirmations, hope you find some that work well for you as you continue to grow and development yourself. I love them and use them all the time!

      Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you Cindy! It was a delightful way to start the new year. In my next blog post I plan to share one of my sanakalpas for the year. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  1. Jane Tuttle

    Similar to affirmations and the class sounded engaging. So true about being open and honest with yourself.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Yes, similar to affirmations, with the difference being that it is about resolve. But the work and beauty can be the same. Some affirmations are deep and some are more surface. Sankalpa is using affirmations in a very deep way. The feedback from students was positive.

      Reply
  2. Dawn Quyle Landau

    Sounds like we are thinking the same way this New Year’s, Heidi. I’ve really missed yoga, and hope to return to it this year… your post is really inspiring; thanks for sharing your practice. Happy New Year!

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      I love finding other woman, who live in different parts of the world with whom I feel a connection. You are one of those people Dawn! As for missing yoga, I understand. One of the lovely things about yoga is that you can do it anywhere and you don’t need to set aside hours or time. Just 15 to 20 minutes of moving with breathe and then afterwards sitting silently can do wonders for each of us!

      Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Glad my post struck a chord with you Suzanne. You are full of lovely vibrant energy. Personally I need more time to recharge these days (or perhaps I always needed it, but could get by without realizing I needed it 😉 and yoga with meditation makes a big difference to me. In April a friend and I are offering a 4 workshop series combining yoga asanas (both vinyasa and restorative) and meditation. Each workshop will have a different theme and difference sequences and different type of meditation. We are super excited about being able to offer this in San Jose!

      Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you. It seems to strike a chord with folks that useless resolutions aren’t worth it, but to make long lasting, more meaningful change is possible. Most yoga teachers know this because they recognise the constant changes in themselves, every time they come to the mat.

      Reply
  3. Kaye Lathe

    I love the reminder to frame things as something that is already happening, or true. It brings together our highest self with acceptance. I think the “I want” and “I will” still leave a lot of wiggle room!

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you! I agree. “I want” and “I will” provide way too much wiggle room for someone like me. I need the constant reminder of how I already am so that I can connect the pieces. I truly believe that we are all already wonderful and just have to make the connection with the way we live our lives and how we treat each other and ourselves.

      Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you. I hope that you find your sankalpa. Sometimes the ‘work’ is making the space to quiet our minds and sometimes the ‘work’ is listening to within and sometimes the ‘work’ is accepting what we ‘hear.’ Whatever it is for you, good luck!

      Reply
  4. joe

    a deep desire to be healthy and my motivation was not to be a burden to my children – that should be the right reason to stay healthy and well balanced.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      It has mostly work for me. There has been a little creep up on my weight (going to Italy last summer didn’t help 😉 but for the most part I have kept off the weight and feel great. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Kindness | The Art of Living Fully

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