Creating a Sankalpa

Did you make a resolution for the New Year?

By a show of hands, how many of us made a resolution last year that didn’t quite pan out the way we had hoped? If you “raised your hand,” you are in good company!

Last year, I made the resolution to cook and sample all the recipes from an Ayurvedic cookbook. Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga, and I thought that this hands-on approach would be the best way to understand it. I admittedly made a handful of recipes, yet quietly abandoned it shortly after the new year.

I told myself that my schedule had changed, health and diet had changed, and that maybe it just wasn’t the right time to commit myself to the project.

Resolutions can most certainly set us up for disappointment in ourselves when we don’t follow through. Is it just me?

Ponder the word “resolute.” It’s absolute in that it means we are to be radically unwavering and tenacious with the goal we are setting out to achieve. This leaves no wiggle room for fluctuation and doesn’t really tend to the matters of our spirit.

Resolutions tend to focus on what we perceive to be lacking. This implies that we are not enough.

Fortunately, Yoga offers us a great alternative to Resolution: Sankalpa.

A Sankalpa is a heartfelt intention stated in the affirmative. It is a way to connect the heart and the mind in a positive way. The focus is shifted on to what we want to call into our life.

Think about what you want most in life. What is your biggest wish? Take as much time as you need—a day, a week, or more! A Sankalpa encourages us to tap into our limitless potential, so allow yourself to listen deeply to what your heart and mind desires.

Then, create your Sankalpa using nonjudgemental language to affirm the positive qualities you want to cultivate. Refrain from making statements like “I won’t be so lazy this year, drink too much or eat too much.” 

Instead, create your statement with a positive, uplifting, and affirmative tone, as if it has already happened. Here are some examples for your consideration:

If losing weight is your goal, your Sankalpa could be “I love my body and I make a daily effort to exercise. I nourish my body with healthy foods.”

If saving money is your goal, your Sankalpa could be “I successfully plan my finances and always have money left over to save.”

If experiencing more love in your life is your goal, your Sankalpa could be “I happily give and receive love every day. I attract loving people into my life.”

If self-acceptance is your goal, your Sankalpa could be “I love myself and I am grateful for my life. I release negative, limiting thoughts and embrace my worthiness for love. I trust myself”

Creating a Sankalpa is like planting the seed for our life’s purpose. State it in your meditation and yoga practice. Write it on a sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror. Or set a reminder in your phone to read it during your coffee break at work.

Consider all the ways you can water your seeds for self-potential and tend to the matters of your spirit.

I wish you a wonderful, joyful and blissful new year! Namaste.