Updated: Feb 3
“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.”
~ The Cheshire Cat
And if you care about where you are going, then maybe let's start with a clear sense of direction....aka Sankalpa!!!
More than intention, Sankalpa is a commitment we make to ourselves that supports our highest purpose.
In my opinion, intention is often over-used, and rarely is there opportunity for follow-through. I mean sure, who doesn't want to feel more love/peace/contentment/sparkle AND it takes more than repeating these affirmations during times of trouble to truly direct one's ship.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help support us, and offer more structure to our paths.
But first, Sankalpa is NOT:
a New Year's resolution
Coming from a place of lacking
Looking into the future
Sankalpa comes from 2 Sanskrit root words:
Sat = highest truth
Kalpa = vow, or the rule to be followed above all others
Putting it together: a statement you can call upon to remind you of your true nature and guide your choices
Sankalpa is different from resolutions, which are often misguided. Sankalpa begins with the radical premise that you already have everything you need to fulfill YOUR dharma. WHOA!!
Sankalpa MUST include:
Iccha - tremendous will and energy
Kriya - action
Jnana - wisdom on how to deliver the action
Real talk: even with the most reliable and advanced navigation system, life is going to turn us around in all directions. OOF!
It will require tremendous will to redirect yourself, action to move forward on your path, and wisdom to not drive yourself in circles, or on too many detours.
Our minds are the chief architect of our lives, and easily distracted by shiny things and SQUIRRELS!!
We MUST draw the mind again/again/again to our deepest intuitions.
Sankalpa may also be drawn from 4 different areas, or desires inherent to the soul (ref: The Vedas)
Artha - means to do life easily. This includes finances, shelter, food...ya know 1st chakra stuff! Without these "basic" stabilities, the other don't quite matter so much. Who cares about enlightenment when there's no food to eat?
Kama - pleasure. Yep! It's OK to desire things that make you happy. The lineage of Sri Vidya that I study in believes that life is inherently beautiful, and should totally be enjoyed!
Dharma - life's purpose. This can be personal, or universal. Spoiler: all roads lead to LOVE!!
Moksha - freedom, liberation. Both personal AND universal. "Until we are all free, we are none of us free. ” ~ Emma Lazarus
We are almost ready to create some magic!
Remember: this is a process of listening. Everything you need is in your own sparkly heart!
Be willing to listen.
Turn inward to listen, and welcome the message.
Be willing to take action.
Write/speak in the present tense
Your nervous system doesn't know the different between thought and real. When we say "tomorrow, next week, next year, I will, I want"....it's puts these things into the imaginary place of later.
Try instead: "I am"
Now we are ready!
Set aside time (1-3 hours)
Clear your space (both inner and outer…move your body and clean your room)
Breathe from belly to heart
Journal + pen ready!
Zoom out. See your life in 1, 5, 10 years time. What does it look like?
What lessons are you tired of learning?
Pick one lesson to work with, yep, just one.
Create an action that moves beyond this limiting belief
Include the fruits of your action
Write in the present tense. I AM!
Here's a few examples, from my personal evolution in crafting Sankalpa.
My first sankalpa: “I support myself doing what I love”
Ok cool, but when I found myself teaching 20+ classes a week, and driving to all sides of the city, I realized that My sankalpa didn’t include how I wanted to feel! Oof! 😣
Attempt 2: “I prioritize my own passions and rest.”
Ok, a little better. But if I’m constantly prioritizing my own passions (and rest), then what else am I doing to further my personal (or business) goals. Hmm 🤔
Third times…. “My bank account is overflowing, and my calendar is full of things that light my soul on fire. I prioritize my own goals, community, and rest.”
Much better! AND, I’m always reassessing and recalibrating.
The "goal" (if there were such a thing) is a perfect Sankalpa, and that's not to say it will never change, but rather that it is NOT informed by doubt.
Crafting the perfect sankalpa takes time, skill, and sometimes a teacher to help guide you.
Shameless plug coming up, and more info about Sankalpa just below:
Local to Charlotte?
I’m leading a workshop on April 10th at NoDa Yoga called Plant Seeds of Joy 🎉
And it’s all about crafting Sankalpas, and ways to work with our nervous systems to create this new pathway of being. Hello, Neuroplasticity ✨
Not local to Charlotte?
I’ll share my secrets soon in a YouTube video, and you can plan time for yourself!
OR I’m offering a special 30 minute “Sankalpa Crafting” mini-sessions for just $33 🎉
Back to the info:
Once you have a Sankalpa, it's time to plant those seeds.
Enter a little nervous system "magic" aka Yoga Nidra!!
But first, a little background info:
When we are awake, our frontal cortex is functioning and doing what it does. Decision making, executive function, scanning for danger, and generally acting like a security guard throwing out any info that may be counter to the efficient program it's already running. AND the frontal cortex is super good at it's job, and is constantly thwarting attempts at rewired the program...aka empty intentions or resolutions rooted in scarcity.
Back to Yoga Nidra: a special brain state that essentially turns the active Frontal Cortex brain "OFF" which allows access to more receptive parts of our nervous system.
Similar to layers of the soil, consider the Frontal Cortex like the top layer of "red-mud" soil common to the part of NC that I live in. This top layer isn't so fertile, and many things aren't able to take root. Dig deeper, and you will find softer layers that easier to plant new seeds.
At the end of this blog, I've shared a link for a recording Yoga Nidra from yours truly, that you can totally use as often as necessary.
Sankalpa aftercare aka Sankalpa Shakti!!
Now comes the real work: keeping this Sankalpa ALIVE and energized!!
Every choice you make can either support, or UNDO, your Sankalpa Shakti.
Have no fear, because there's a practice for WHEN you mess up! Take the time to “make it right” by using your mind, go back (visualize), and choose different. Strengthen your Sankalpa Shakti.
Try on daily Sadhana (personal practice) of doing Yoga Nidra for 40 days while using this newly crafted Sankalpa. Be sure to allow ~5 minutes for journaling post practice.
BONUS: create an altar (sacred) space for any insights, discoveries, or symbols that are revealed during this practice time. Keep building Shakti for your Sankalpa.
If you keep having issues, then simply back up and start over! Give yourself something small that you can commit to, maybe breaking a bothersome habit. Spend 40 days of keeping your words, proving to yourself that can indeed build your own personal resolve.
It may also help to keep your written Sankalpa where you can see it.
Psychology ProTip: move the written notes into new places on a monthly basis, otherwise they become background and easy to forget/ignore.
If no-one else has told you today:
You are enough.
I believe in you.
I love you.
You are magic!!