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What is a Sankalpa?

A resolve or resolution; to set an intention; a yogic New Year’s Resolution.

The Sanskrit word Sankalpa means: “Will, purpose, or determination.” To make a Sankalpa is to make a resolve or resolution, or to set an intention.

It is often lovely to do one at the beginning of your asana practice. And we often create and repeat a sankalpa in our yoga classes, here at Body Soul Yoga, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.

A Sankalpa or resolve is usually phrased in the terms, “I am”, rather than, “I will.”

Most New Year’s Resolutions are phrased, “I will.” Such as:

“I will go to the gym more.”

“I will give up chocolate or alcohol”.

“I will be kind and a better person.”

“I will earn more money and work harder.”

“I will get pregnant.”

“I will not eat meat”.

We set goals. They almost always fail because the phrase, “I will”, seems to indicate something that will be done in the future. It can easily be put off, till tomorrow. They also often fail as they start from an assumption that what you are currently doing is not good enough.

The Yoga resolution or Sankalpa offers a good alternative to the New Year’s Resolution. All you need to do is express what you are doing or the state you are in, or want to be in, and set a positive intention and send out that positive message into the Universe. Examples include:

“I am a kind and giving person.”

“I am going to eat more healthily”.

“I am going to the gym more.”

“I am pregnant.”

“I am working hard and I am earning more money.”

“I am a vegetarian and will eat a vegetarian diet”.

Essentially a Sankalpa is a statement you can rely on and call upon to remind you of your true nature and guide your choices. You simply need to repeat it either aloud or to yourself a few times each day to set that intention.

Faye x

Posted 3 May 2013