It’s that time of year! Maybe you overindulged over the festive season and want to make changes this year. After reflection on the year that was, perhaps you didn’t achieve everything you hoped to, or perhaps you are feeling a bit stuck and lacking motivation.
There may be other reasons for it but for many of us we think about ’New Year’ and we see it as a new start, a time for rebirth, to create change, eliminate bad habits. We start off January the 1st (or maybe a couple of days after if there is still Christmas cake and chocolates to finish), with a burst of energy! Maybe you have even created some New Years Resolutions.
However, often by the end of January things have already started to settle back into the old routine, resignation comes back and sits on your lap like a big fat lazy cat and you don’t even want to move it to go to the toilet as the old habit feels so much more comfortable. We had every intention to stick to it it’s easy to fall back to our old habits. We really do have every possibility to create whatever we want in life but we need to be able to tap into something deeper. Our vision. Our reason why!
Here is where Sankalpa (personal resolve) comes in, the yogic tradition that offers a refreshing and more sustainable alternative to the New Year’s resolution. A Sankalpa practice is rooted in the idea that you already are who you need to be to fulfil your life’s dharma. All you must do is focus your mind and connect to your truest desires.
The Sanskrit word Sankalpa is made up of 2 words: ’Kalpa’, a way to proceed and ‘San’, a concept or idea formed in the heart. It can take time to get to the full depth of our Sankalpa, but yoga practice such as meditation or Yoga Nidra can give the space in the mind to connect tour hearts desire. For you, it might help to connect to nature, listen to music or be surrounded by something that inspires you.
Two rules for Sankalpa are that 1) it is worded in the present tense, and 2) only positive language should be used. For example, if we want to lose weight or give up smoking this can be worded positively like this: ‘I live a healthy life, being able to breathe deeply and freely’.
Remember to create your Sankalpa omitting words ending in -ing, because if your Sankalpa is something like, ‘I am helping myself to help others’, you are never going to get there as it is always in the future. The mind isn’t very good at taking negative words, so from ‘I do not drink alcohol’, the mind gets ‘I drink alcohol’ (which doesn’t exactly help).
Now you have a Sankalpa, but why are you doing this? What is the vision?
Perhaps you are doing it as an example for your children. Maybe you want to be able to help others in a way that gives you more purpose in your life. The more you fill yourself up, the more you have to give to others in the form or time/energy/security etc. If you were to have financial stability, then you can not help yourself, but also be in a position to create ways of aiding others such as helping your family be more comfortable. Your Sankalpa may state that you have more fun and pleasure in your life because you then can become a beacon for lightness and enjoyment that can radiate to others. The possibilities are endless.
To conclude: Tune into yourself to find your heart’s desire (this can be refined over time). Decide your vision behind this. And remind yourself of your Sankalpa anytime, especially when you have choices to make.
In this special talk, Craig will discuss the power of personal resolve (Sankalpa) and how this differs from intention. He will also use parts of The Yoga Sutras, a text central to the yoga tradition, and explain how parts of this text can be used to create more personal power in your own life.
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