For 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.
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