How to Discover Your Sankalpa

As the New Year rolls around many of us begin thinking about resolutions, goals and setting our intentions for the year ahead. There is this natural push to start something new and we are filled with inspiration, hope and motivation as we set out to make this our best year yet!

It is only these past couple of years that I have begun analyzing my resolutions and goals. Which ones did I achieve? Which ones were a big flop? And most importantly… why did this happen?

Sometimes I didn’t make an actual plan, other times I didn’t connect with my intentions often enough to bring them to fruition and many times my goals were created based on what I “thought” I should be doing instead of what my “heart” was guiding me to do.

The thing I’ve found with resolutions is that it is easy for me to pin point what I want to change, but a hell of a lot more difficult to figure out what I truly want!

And this is where the yoga principle of sankalpa has helped me to start seeing intentions and resolutions as something that is less about changing who I am, and more about me becoming simple ol’ me. 

What is sankalpa?

It is traditionally used in Yoga Nidra (a powerful relaxation technique), where you create a short, positive statement of intent that you connect to during the practice. Maybe it’s something you would like to heal, create or transform in your life which leads you down the path of becoming more of who you truly are.

But the thing with sankalpa is, you can’t think yourself into it. Getting out of our heads and into our hearts can be super challenging! Especially in today’s world where we are constantly analyzing, thinking, planing, and doing. Honing in on your sankalpa it is an intuitive process. It is already there, waiting for you to connect with it. It’s that soft whisper from your inner guide, if you will. 

What’s the difference between a resolution and a sankalpa?

Let’s look at a couple examples.

1. The ever-famous New Years resolution to loose weight.

When you dive deep into what is the heart-felt intention behind loosing weight, you will uncover your sankalpa.

Do you strive to love your body? Love yourself? Live healthy?

2. Another resolution at the top of many peoples list (including my own!) is to make more money.

What is the underlying desire you have connected with money?

Maybe you want to feel free? Or maybe safe?

How to connect with your sankalpa.

1. Find stillness

The mind yells but the heart whispers. Take a few moments to do some simple breathing techniques to calm, quiet and connect yourself to the present moment.

2. Ask yourself, “What is my heart’s biggest desire?” or “What do I value the most in my life right now?”

Don’t look for or try to think of the answer!

Just sit and observe. Let whatever comes up, bubble up. Maybe it’s a feeling. Maybe it’s something you want to achieve. Maybe you see an image or a place. Maybe nothing happens and that is okay too! 

Remember that listening to our hearts takes time and practice so don’t get discouraged if nothing happens on the first try. It is like learning a new language…give yourself time.

3. Create your sankalpa

Write down whatever came up for you and whatever you experienced. Take a moment to reflect on what it is that your heart is communicating with you.

Afterwards, try to write a short, positive statement in the present tense as if it’s already happened.

Here are a few examples:

I flow through life with ease and peace.

I am whole, healthy and free.

I am successful in all that I do.

4. Plant and sow the seed

Try to connect with your sankalpa on a daily basis. You might want to write it down somewhere you will see it often or try saying it when you wake up and go to bed. The more you connect with it, the more your choices will naturally begin to align with it. 

Remember, there is no wrong way to do this practice and there is no wrong answer!

A sankalpa is a fact. It is your truth!

So give it a go Mama. Dive deep into your heart. What is in there, just waiting to be discovered, which will let your true, authentic, amazing self shine through?

Happy practicing Mamas!