Saṅkalpa - Intention: The Goal is Within - सङ्कल्प
Sankalpa is the sanskrit word for intention or resolution. An affirmation or wish we hope to see unfold. A concept we are very familiar with, when a whole year has passed in our calendars and a new one is on the rise. Yet, Sankalpa can also be integrated in a smaller setting, like the beginning of your yoga practice, the start into a fresh day or a new chapter of life.
The essence of Sankalpa is to have an affirmation in sight and to put your willpower and trust into manifesting it. With the concept of Sankalpa comes the concept of Vikalpa: intention and doubt. As everything we can name has the quality of duality and can be mastered by the beautiful power of choice. In our past year of 2020, many of us might have experienced set-backs within their intended goals. When we weren’t able to go outside, we had the opportunity to turn inward. An opportunity to find focus and intention within ourselves. We were gifted the chance to see that whatever happens outside, it is our choice of reaction within, that is unique to every single one of us.
From this space within, a space of your creation, a space where possibilities are infinite, Sankalpa encourages you to carry this energy into the realms of your reality. The goal is within ourselves, waiting to be wrapped into a wish, ready to unfold.
“Sow a thought and reap an action. Sow an action and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow a character and reap a destiny.” -Swami Sivananda
“How To Know” from the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle:
“Moment of uncertainty arises, breathe, turn inward, sink. Feel around for the knowing. Do the next thing it nudges you toward. Let it stand. Don’t explain. Repeat forever. For the rest of your Life: Continue to shorten the gap between the knowing and the doing.”
Putting Sankalpa into practice can be as simple as following a small wish or desire you have for the day, like making your favorite meal. On a larger scale, the following techniques may guide you to find and manifest the goals you carry within yourself.
Box Breathing helps to steady the focus, turn inward and calm your thoughts:
4 counts to inhale 4 counts to hold 4 counts to exhale 4 counts to hold
3 Point breath helps to cleanse and stimulate the third-eye-chakra:
2 point INHALE: inhaling into the belly, keep inhaling into the chest
1 point EXHALE: through the mouth, let it all out
This technique has similar effects to Kapalabati “the breath of fire”, therefore it is recommended to sit in quiet meditation for a few minutes afterwards.
So Ham - I am
Finding your Sankalpa, your goal within yourself, is powerfully underlined by this ancient vedic mantra.
Choose a sequence that is grounding, strengthening the core and uplifting.
Giving you the security and stability to grow and float into new shapes of body and mind.
Some Asanas, that can be woven into your practice, may be:
Tree Pose - let your tree grow as you extend arms over head
Virabhadrasana A, B, C
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana - promoting stability, focus and flexibility
Table Top variation: Extend one arm and opposite leg, bring elbow and opposite knee to touch below belly, rounding the spine.
Sankalpa is often related to Yoga Nidra “the yogic sleep”. While its name may suggest otherwise, the essence of Yoga Nidra is to stay awake. It’s a guided meditation practice that leads you through different stages, primarily to connecting with your heart and intention. The Sankalpa itself, used in a form of autosuggestion.
Other techniques can be:
Visualization techniques of planting a seed as the affirmation that is being fostered to grow into a beautiful tree and its fruit can be harvested.
Mantra Meditation using the Mantra So Ham as the point of focus: “So” on the inhale “Ham” on the exhale.
Integration in everyday life
Daily intention inspired by Reiki:
“Just for today...
I am grateful
I let go of my worries
I let go of my anger
I am kind and compassionate towards myself and others
I am honest and diligent in my work (on this planet).”
Setting mini goals for the week ahead in different parts of your life. For example relationships / personal development / career and work. Inspired by The Source by Tara Swart.
“Peace begins within me” - Mudra Meditation practice
The Source by Tara Swart
Untamed by Glennon Doyle