I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions.
On the one hand, I love resolutions because I’m dedicated to personal growth and feel inspired by evolving into a happier healthier person. On the other hand, I’ve also felt these resolutions can lead to self depreciation and feeling less than, emphasizing what’s lacking and the destructive mentality of always wanting more.
This was the dark side of setting resolutions I saw each year. I intuitively felt it was the reason so many people didn’t stick to their resolves longer than a few weeks and saw how it then created more self depreciation when the resolve was broken.
So, when along my yoga path I learned the practice of sankalpa, intention setting from the heart that aligns to your life purpose, I began to learn how to set goals without a dark side and they’ve genuinely transformed my life.
Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga, says, “By definition, a sankalpa should honor the deeper meaning of our life. A sankalpa speaks to the larger arc of our lives, our dharma–our overriding purpose for being here.”
This sankalpa statement becomes something you can call on again and again, reminding you of your true nature and guiding your decisions.
Here is a quick guide to help set a Sankalpa from the heart for the New Year.
1. Know that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life’s purpose.
You are good enough! Yoga philosophy recognizes that we each have a shinning light of divine power and wisdom within us, called our purusa, and most of our yoga practices simply work to get rid of anything covering that light. Unlike typical New Years resolutions that are based around a need to change, a sankalpa reinforces the amazingness you already have—your true nature.
2. Listen to your heart-felt desires.
Let your vision of yourself and the world be big, and think about who and how you want to be in that vision. Start writing down qualities of that vision and observe how your heart space feels as you write them down. Some will deeply resonate with you, circle those.
3. Create a broad positive statement that encompasses your true nature and heart-felt desires in the present tense.
Looking at the qualities from above as well as some of the intentions you’ve already set, can you find an underlying desire that unifies them all? Now make that an ‘I am’ statement in the present tense. For example, “I am clear, healthy and peaceful.” Don’t worry too much about the wording, this statement will likely change over time, but fine a simple clear statement to start with that really feels good when you say it. This statement will anchor you in your true light, your purusa, and guide you through specific intentions and decisions.
4. Get specific in a way that aligns with your broad sankalpa.
Now, from this space of deep connection to your true nature, pick a few specific actions that are going to reinforce this. Stay in the present tense, this psychologically strengthens your intention. For example, “I am clear, healthy and peaceful, I eat foods that make me feel clear and I am patient with my family.” You’ll find that ego driven intentions won’t sound right next to the heart-felt sankalpa, and those are usually the ones we don’t stick to.
5. Write down your positive, beautiful, inspiring sankalpa and post it somewhere you’ll see it every day!
Please share you’re intention with us if you’d like, or what you got out of this exercise, and as a community we can reinforce these heart felt New Years Resolutions.
Happy New Year!!
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Image: elephant archives
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