Living the teachings - set your sankalpa
Understanding yoga's everyday spiritual meanings. By Sue Pugh
As we welcome in 2023, ask yourself: What is my longterm vision? Or: What would it actually feel like to be at home in my body? The next question is: What changes need to happen to move from your current state towards your desired future?
Sankalpas are special new year’s resolutions, resolves or intentions, according to Julie Lusk, a yoga and stress expert and author; they are a sacred vow or pledge you make in support of your highest good.
It is important you choose your new sankalpa carefully and that you opt for something that has real meaning and significance for you. If your sankalpa has “I should” in it, or if it is more about doing something to help or please others, it is likely to fail. Your sankalpa should be brief and you should state it sincerely and in the present tense. It should also be positive. For example: “I can choose to live a more peaceful life”, or “I do have the strength to get through this.”
If you know deep down that changes really are needed in your life in order to be healthier, find peace or live your truth, then you may need to set a bigger vision for yourself. This can then be broken down into smaller goals that are more achievable.
Reiki precepts are similar to the yamas and niyamas and provide excellent examples of how to break down your big vision into smaller steps. They remind us to face our challenges one day at a time, helping to make things more achievable:
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not be angry.
Just for today, I will be grateful.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.
So, state “Just for today, I will…” When working towards your big vision, you are then much more likely to succeed and stay with it. Journaling may also help to embed this determination and turn your sankalpa into reality.
You need to state your sankalpa often, certainly each time you practice yoga, and especially when in a relaxed state such as during savasana. When you are in a relaxed state your unconscious mind can help you to create helpful thoughts and behaviours that provide the best conditions for positive change and steps towards your big vision, whatever it may be. In my experience, it is also nice to take your focus to your sankalpa as you drop off to sleep and as soon as you wake the following day.
If you have chosen your sankalpa well and it is something you are passionate about, stay with it and believe things will unfold in a way that will serve your highest good. Sense its wisdom, follow your intuition, do not give up.