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The Power of Sankalpa: Art of Intention Setting

In the vast tapestry of ancient practices designed to elevate the human spirit, Sankalpa stands as a radiant jewel - a profound concept deeply rooted in the wisdom of yoga. Sankalpa embodies the art of setting intentions, a powerful tool that aligns us with our deepest aspirations.

Unveiling the Essence of Sankalpa

Sankalpa is a Sanskrit term in yogic philosophy that refers to a heartfelt desire, a solemn vow, an intention or resolve to do something. similar to the concept of a resolution, it's a dedicated commitment aimed at achieving a specific goal or fulfilling a particular purpose.

However, what sets the original concept of Sankalpa apart is its deeper origin - it emerges from the innermost depths of one's Being. It goes beyond the superficial layers of desires and taps into the reservoir of the soul's longing. When a Sankalpa transcends personal wishes and is aligned with a higher purpose resonating with the universal flow, intentions become powerful forces that can shape not only personal experiences but also contribute to the harmony of all existence.

The Evolution of Sankalpa

As the world evolves, so does the practice of Sankalpa. Its essence remains timeless, but its application adapts to modern contexts. Sankalpa can be applied to even the simplest aspects of daily life, from personal development to professional success. Sankalpa serves as a guiding light, offering solace, direction, and empowerment in an ever-changing world. It helps us enhance our discipline, resilience, effectiveness, joy and sense of purpose in navigating the journey of life, fostering a mindset geared towards growth, transformation, and fulfillment.

Steps on the Sankalpa Journey

1. Finding Your Sankalpa

The journey of Sankalpa begins with introspection to uncover your deepest desires, aspirations, and purpose. Here are the tools that can help you find your Sankalpa:

Self-Reflection: Reflect on what truly matters to you, what brings you joy and fulfillment, and what you want to achieve in life. Explore your values, passions, and long-term goals, evaluating what changes or achievements could bring contentment, purpose, and benefit both yourself and those around you.

Listen to Your Heart: Pay attention to your inner voice. Sometimes, intuition guides us toward what truly resonates with our authentic selves. Listen to what feels right and meaningful to you.

Explore Emotions: Notice the emotions that certain aspirations evoke within you. Joy, enthusiasm, inspiration and a deep sense of purpose often indicate alignment with your true desires. Sankalpa should ignite passion and motivation toward your goal.

Raise awareness: Engage in activities that help you raise your awareness, like yoga and meditation. These practices help quiet the mind and allow your authentic intentions to surface.

Authenticity: Your Sankalpa should resonate deeply with your values, beliefs, and aspirations. It should reflect your true desires, not what others expect or want for you.

Start Small: Begin with smaller aspirations or intentions. Sometimes, starting with smaller, achievable goals helps in clarifying larger, long-term intentions.

Finding a Sankalpa is a personal journey that evolves over time. It's about connecting with your authentic self and setting intentions that deeply resonate with your heart and soul. Allow this process to unfold naturally, embracing the discoveries along the way.

2. Verbalizing Your Sankalpa

The key to a good Sankalpa is condensing your intention into a few words that capture its essence while being clear, positive, and personally meaningful to yourself. It's about finding the perfect balance between simplicity and depth of meaning.

Clarity and conciseness: Keep your Sankalpa specific and brief. It should be easily remembered and repeated.

Positive framing: Focus on what you do want rather than what you don't. This helps in fostering a positive mindset.

Affirmation: Phrase your Sankalpa in the present tense whenever possible, affirming that your intention is already happening or is achievable, or use just one powerful word feeling that this desired state is already here.

Phrasing: Find the best choice of words that deeply resonate with you and holds the strongest impact when spoken or imagined.

For example:

"I am strong" or ”Strength” or any other positive phrasing that feels powerful and uplifting to you

”I feel bliss” or ”Bliss”

3. Creating a Strategy

Sankalpa requires a structured approach, demanding a plan or strategy to navigate toward a specific goal.

Essentially, it embodies the impactful statement:

"I intend to take a specific action, in a certain way, for a certain period of time, to create a specific result."

It's a commitment followed by action.

The process involved in the Sankalpa cultivates willpower and aligns us with the intelligence of nature that helps us achieve the goal.

4. Cultivating your Sankalpa

Repetition: Practice repeating your Sankalpa regularly. A good time for that is after meditation or during quiet moments. Repetition reinforces the intention and strengthens its manifestation.

Visualization: Pair your Sankalpa with visualization. Imagine yourself living the reality described in your intention, enhancing its power.

Revisiting and Refining: Regularly revisit and reflect on your Sankalpa. It's okay to adjust it as your goals or aspirations evolve.

More examples of Sankalpa:

”I follow the path of enlightenment.” / ”Enlightenment.”

”I cultivate and share peace.” / ”Peace.”

”I embrace courage, stepping out of my comfort zone to embrace growth.” / ”I am courageous.” / ”Courage.”

”I attract opportunities that align with my passion and purpose."

”I communicate openly and compassionately, strengthening bonds with others." / ”Good communication.”

Sankalpa in Daily Life

Incorporating Sankalpa into everyday life extends beyond the realm of rituals. It encompasses mindful living - aligning thoughts, emotions, and actions with the set intentions.

Starting our day with a Sankalpa directed towards daily activities is a powerful tool for self-growth, especially effective if done after morning meditation established in the silence of our Being. By arranging our activities for the day in the mind and defining their purpose, we strengthen and energize our thought, force which helps in executing the decisions. The principle of executing decisions first in the mind and then physically develops a strong will power.

Cross-checking our activities at the end of the day before we go to sleep is a great way to optimize our productivity, reflect on accomplishments, and set intentions for the following day.

Sankalpa in Yoga Practice

Among the array of yoga styles and methods, a shared principle emerges: creating a Sankalpa with a clear purpose of our yoga practice acts as a driving force and serves as a catalyst to fully harness the transformative power of yoga and amplifying its benefits.

Sankalpa in yoga practice consist of crafting a clear resolution to perform various yoga techniques in order to achieve specific goals or purpose such as physical health, spiritual growth, discovering the truth about life, and acting for the benefit of all beings.

Outlined here is just one example of daily yoga routine that includes Sankalpa:

Before engaging in yoga poses, preparing the spirit, breath and body is key to unlocking the full potential of the practice.

1. Prepare the spirit

Start by sitting in Sukhasasa (the Easy Pose, sitting down on a flat surface in a comfortable, cross-legged position) or alternatively any other comfortable pose with straight back. Closing our eyes, we prepare our spirit by inviting a joyful internal state full of peace and comfort, infusing ourselves with positive feelings. Only a calm and happy spirit can have a calming and relaxing effect on the body and stimulate the revival of bodily intelligence.

It's then time for a Sankalpa, clear decision about the purpose of the practice.

For example:

With this practice I achieve health / vitality / spiritual growth / enlightenment / discover the truth about life.”

Through Sankalpa, we metabolize our intentions and enhance the effects of each yoga technique and pose we perform.

Sankalpa brings the value of serene awareness into the entire physiology, making it a perfect preparation for upcoming yoga poses.

The purpose of Sankalpa is to sustain vitality by practicing yoga poses and fulfill their purpose on the levels of mind, body, and cosmic life.

2. Prepare the breath & body

After we have set our Sankalpa for the practice, we can then prepare the breath (through breathing techniques) and body (through joint warm-ups, spinal stretches, and Sun Salutations).

3. Practice yoga poses

4. Final steps

Yoga practice can end with relaxation, meditation and Sankalpa oriented towards activities that we will be performing throughout the day.

Embracing Sankalpa: Conclusion

In a world brimming with distractions and uncertainties, Sankalpa stands as a steadfast anchor - a beacon of hope and empowerment. It's a reminder that within each individual resides the power to shape destinies, transcend limitations, and manifest dreams. By embracing the art of intention setting, one embarks on a transformative journey - a journey where the union of intention, action, and faith culminates in the realization of one's highest potential.


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