Sankalpa – Time for a Change


Have you tried making resolutions before and broken them by the end of January? Don’t be disappointed. Let’s make resolutions the yogic way! It’s called a Sankalpa. This method has been used for centuries – it’s like planting a seed in your mind.

Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word, it also means affirmation or positive mental statement. I prefer to use the word Sankalpa rather than resolution as there are some important differences between the two which make Sankalpa more effective than a conventional resolution when we want to change something about ourselves. The important thing is to choose the right Sankalpa.

How to choose your Sankalpa

1. Correct Wording

The correct wording of your Sankalpa is critical to it’s success. So it is worth taking some time over this process. Make an appointment with yourself to sit alone in a quiet place. Reflect on the past and dream about the future. Think about what areas of your life you would like to improve, your goals and the purpose of your life. Write it all down. You could be aiming at very specific goals or formulating how you would like to feel in general.

2. Choose one goal

Next, you want to choose what’s most important out of all the goals listed. Formulate just one short sentence that will encompasses it in a nutshell. Go for quality, not quantity.

3. Ask why?

To create your own Sankalpa, don’t just ask WHAT you want to achieve – ask WHY? For example, if you want to have more money, go beyond saying, “I want to have more money because I need to buy a house.” Connect to something deeper. What’s behind your desire for more money? Say, your answer is to feel more security or at peace with yourself, then your Sankalpa should include the state of security or peace rather than a wish of getting more money.

4. Make it short

The Sankalpa should be short. The wording should not change. If you are bilingual, you also need to fix the language of the resolve. Whichever phrase and language you choose, it should always be the same, until the Sankalpa is fulfilled.

5. Write in the first person

Your Sankalpa should be made in the first person by using “I” or “my”. Your Sankalpa must involve you only and cannot help to change something in another person. However it definitely can be formulated to change your attitude towards the situation around that person.

6. Use positive language

The Sankalpa must be joyous in its essence and therefore “not/don’t/won’t/can’t” and other negative words should not be used. For example, if you desire to recover from a medical condition it should not be structured as “I am not sick”; instead a positive statements such as “My physical body is healthy” or “I enjoy perfect health” can be used.

7. Use the present tense

It should be stated in the present tense as if it has come to fruition already. For instance, not ‘I will enjoy perfect health’ but “I enjoy perfect health”.

Here’s another example: The statement “I will not be smoking in 3 months” is not good because it is negative and in the future tense. A better statement could be “I am free of addiction” but it contains the negative word ‘addiction’ and has a limited therapeutic aim. By looking deeper at the roots of the problem and widening the understanding of the inner causes, one might come to a stronger and more efficient Sankalpa such as “I resolve to take care of my body”.

If you are interested in spending time working on your own Sankalpa, Great News! It’s the topic of our Yoga Retreat on March 21st at Tinwell Village Hall. For more information click here.

You can read more about the background of Sankalpa and how to use it in Yoga Nidra in this article here.

Published by yogadeb

Yoga teacher in Stamford, UK, and online

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