You made the best New Year’s resolution ever. You are excited about achieving your goals. You are on it for the next few days, maybe weeks, and… then what?
You find hundreds of reasons why you can’t stick with it, or maybe no reason, you just don’t do it.
Has it ever happened to you?
Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. In fact, only a tiny fraction of us keeps our resolutions. University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals.
Unless you’re a part of this 8% you’re probably wishing that there would be another way to do it. The good news is that there is!
The yoga tradition offers an alternative to the New Year’s resolution: the practice of sankalpa, or resolve.
Word sankalpa consist of two Sanskrit words: kalpa, which means “the rule to be observed above or before any other rule,” and san, “a concept or idea formed in the heart.” Rod Stryker in his book The Four Desires states that, “sankalpa is a declarative statement, resolution, or intention in which you vow or commit to fulfill a specific goal.
At the first glance, it looks a lot like a New Year’s resolution. However, sankalpa is not just a little more than a wish, it’s a heartfelt desire, it’s a statement that reflects your true nature.
Sankalpa is based on the ancient concept that your mind has the capacity to affect the quality and the content of your life. By cultivating the power of will and determination called sankalpa shakti you “overcome your resistance and expand your capacity.” What makes sankalpa extremely effective is combining your desire with determination.
Very often, when we make a resolution, it’s based on what we want. We all think we know what we want, but sometimes lack the understanding of what we need. Our ‘wants’ are usually what’s pleasant or conditioned by our environment. On the other hand, our needs are “desires that are related to the intrinsic desires of the soul to fulfill its higher purpose” (Rod Stryker).
When you’re creating sankalpa you are guided by your soul and you make a resolve that supports what is truly best for you.
Creating and working with your Sankalpa is a process that consist of several steps. There is inner listening, declaring your statement, removing obstacles and nurturing your resolve. The inner work that you’re doing discovering your sankalpa ensures that your statement reflects what you want, what is good for you, and what serves your highest purpose. The power that you awake during the process makes you embody it and act on it.
Last January I created a sankalpa, which took four months to complete. For a while, I didn’t know what to do next. Then another one presented itself, and it took a little longer. Both of them were successful because I’ve been ready for a long time. For many years, I thought I knew what I wanted, but wasn’t clear enough on how helpful it would be. I also didn’t know what steps to take to get there. In addition, I was lacking methodologies and the inner power to make it happened.
Sankalpa practice enabled me to define precisely what I needed, gave me the power to realize that I already have it, and pointed me into direction to manifest my heartfelt desires into my life. I learned a lot in the process and this month I’m working on the next one. Step by step, I am moving towards fulfilling my life purpose.
Are you ready to discover your sankalpa?