A New Year is a great reminder to pause, stop and take a moment to sit with yourself and focus on what you would like to achieve and the changes you would like to bring into your life. Taking the time to clear the mind and allowing yourself an opportunity to hear and listen to the intuitive wisdom of your heart is an invaluable practice.
Sankalpa is a sanskrit word which broadly speaking means a ‘resolve’ or ‘resolution’. It differs in meaning from ones traditional view of a New Years’ resolution, as it extends much deeper than for example, changing a habit like giving up smoking.
Sankalpa is a way to change your personality and can help to train the mind. Often it can feel like you’re being led through life by external forces, with little choice about the direction travelled. A sankalpa can help to give you that choice. The purpose of sankalpa is to influence and renew all aspects of your life – this includes spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Helping to create a balance, to assist you to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Sankalpa can be a statement of who you are, a heart-felt desire that reflects your true nature. This resolve comes from deep within and does not require any action. It can also be a specific action or goal. A few examples of sankalpa are: Compassion is my true nature; I will be successful in all that I do; I will achieve total health; I am peace itself; I will respect myself in all that I do; I will be a positive force for the development of others; I am already whole and already healed.
It’s wise to take the time to carefully consider and select your sankalpa – this is a key process in itself. Listen to your silent inner voice and allow your sankalpa to speak the wisdom of the deepest desire within your heart. Sankalpa takes the form of a short positive statement, said in the present tense – this reminds you that whatever is needed of you, is already within you. The wording should be precise and clear. It’s helpful to make a written note of your sankalpa as a reminder, so that the sequence of words used stay the same when repeated. Keep your sankalpa to yourself – there is no need to share it with others.
A sankalpa is traditionally used in the practice of Yoga Nidra – a powerful technique to induce relaxation. Meditation is the most fertile ground for a sankalpa practice, and a sankalpa is like a seed sown in the bed of your mind. When the mind is empty, the seed can be perfectly sown, allowing your sankalpa to take root in the subconscious mind. It’s key that the mind is calm and quiet when sankalpa is used. A sankalpa made at the start of practice is like sowing a seed and every time it’s repeated, the seed is watered and nourished. If the mind is well prepared and the seed sown properly, your sankalpa will grow and become an influential force.
It takes time for your sankalpa to take effect and the results also depend on your sincerity and heart felt will to achieve its goal. This practice works well when you feel that the silent inner voice saying the sankalpa is voicing the wisdom within your heart. Eventually the sankalpa will manifest at a conscious level and bring about positive changes in you and your life.
If Yoga Nidra is not accessible to you, sankalpa may be used in other meditative practices. For example, settle yourself into a few rounds of full 3-part yogic breathing. On the next round, place your sankalpa consciously at the pause between each inhale and exhale. Repeat this a few more times, after which time, bring your awareness back to the rhythmic cycle of your natural breath and surroundings.
A sankalpa is often kept for one’s lifetime or until it comes into fruition. Allow your sankalpa good time to flourish and back it with the will power to carry it through.
“Many people make intellectual resolves which rarely bring results. This is because the resolve is either not planted deeply enough, made when the mind is disturbed or when the mind is not ready to receive it. For success, the Sankalpa needs to be planted with strong willpower and feeling. It should be planted when the mind is relaxed and ready to accept and absorb it. Such a state occurs during yoga nidra.” Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Wishing you a wonderful New Year! Peace and love, Sky