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Creating a sankalpa - Spiritual Aspirations

Girl with hand on heart

After a little Googling of "New Year's Resolutions" (Yeah, I wanted to know who's silly idea it was!)

Analysis conducted by says,

  • "Two-thirds of Brits (66%) will be setting themselves New Year’s resolutions for 2024, which is around 35 million British adults.

  • 3 in 10 Brits (29%) will make a money resolution for 2024.

  • 97% of generation Z (born 1990-2010) will be making resolutions for 2024, while just 14% of the silent generation (born 1928-1945) will be doing so.

  • Almost half of generation Z (46%) will make a money-related resolution for 2024."

Apparently New year's resolutions have been around for more than 4000 years in different cultures around the world. However, they don't all start on the 1st of January, with varying reasons I tend to agree with.

January isn't really a great time to start anything new here in the UK, its Winter, its cold, dark and grey (ok maybe a puzzle is ok to start) but if you observe nature, winter is telling us to wrap up, become quiet & rest, ready for re-emergence in spring. My suggestion for January is to go gently.

Instead of New Year's Resolutions try working with the yogic version which is known as sankalpa. Sankalpa is about "resolve" or "intention" to move towards your heart felt, deep desires. Unlike New year's resolutions, which tend be self-flagellating exercise routines and crazy diets that we never stick to, sankalpa is a reminder to bring to the surface what is already possible in your body, mind & soul. Sankalpa's help us affirm our wishes and manifest that which we really want to bring about in life, in alignment with our deepest values. You see yoga is not just about aligning your body, it's about aligning life!

"Sankalpa means a well-planned thought. Vikalpa means all kinds of thoughts finding their way into the mind in the absence of a proper thought construction or alertness of mind." Vikalpa also means imagination, implying that is the part of the brain/consciousness we need to be working with.

Here's how to work with sankalpa.

Reflect - Hint, Get a journal out!

Take time to reflect on the last year:

  1. Celebrate how far you've come already! Write down your successes from 2023, no matter how small. Writing it down helps to solidify how flippin' great you already are and gives you something to refer back to when you need a boost. They are also good seeds to start with, as they're already in the ground germinating so to speak.

  2. See where things were a little out of balance last year.  You shouldn't need to ruminate on this, you will already know, that you worked too hard and ate too much junk food, or didn't respect your own boundaries, or didn't speak your truth etc etc etc.

  3. Look at the cause of imbalance without blaming someone/something else, so you can start to see where your responsibility lies within that and then either chose to accept that or not.

  4. Look at where you are resisting change.

Take time to reflect on your deepest desires, goals, and aspirations for the present & future.

Your sankalpa should be personal, come from the heart and reflect your truest self. Don't try and BullSh*t yourself into creating some sort of resolution that isn't true to you, because it won't work. Write down what is true and important to you. See what bubbles up in your mind, you might be surprised. Perhaps, It just shows up as 1 or 2 special words, whatever comes up should be in alignment with your personal values, the way you express yourself and your personal dharma (personal life path). This process of sitting and being still with yourself requires:

Willingness to really listen & hear yourSelf, not the voice of others and their expectations.

Tuning into that and going deeper.

For example: What is the real reason I want to lose weight? To be more confident? Why do I want or need to be more confident? OR, how do I cultivate peace? What does that really mean for me? What am I resisting in life and how to move beyond that? Keep drilling down and questioning your beliefs, which are so often self-limiting.

Being willing to respond to what you hear within. Note: It may require a little effort, so be honest and realistic about what you can give to this. Remember they say it takes 66 days to change the neurological pathways of habit and behaviour, and 10,000 hours to master of something. If you want to do a 1 handed handstand, be prepared to give it 10,000 hours of effort.

Feel the Emotion:

As you formulate your sankalpa, connect with the associated emotions. Feel the joy, peace, or fulfilment that your intention brings. This emotional connection adds depth to your resolve.

Phrase it Positively:

Frame your sankalpa in positive language. You know I'm not a fan of making everything flowery and sweet, just remember this is something you're going to repeat regularly so instead of focusing on what you want to eliminate, express it as a positive affirmation. For example, instead of saying "I will reduce stress," say "I am cultivating inner peace." This way, the mind will work with the word "peace" instead of "stress". Consider what you are striving FOR, not working against.

Keep it Simple:

A brief and clear statement is more powerful and easier to remember. No more than 5 or 6 words. Less is more. E.g. I am peace.

Use the Present Tense (This is an important one):

Phrase your sankalpa in the present tense, as if it is already happening now. As per the previous example "I am cultivating inner peace" is better than "I will cultivate inner peace." The "I will" implies you might do it in the future.

Its also a good idea to spend some time visualising the outcome of your sankalpa as if it's happening now. How do you feel and what do you look like when you are "cultivating inner peace"?

Repeat it Regularly:

Repeat your sankalpa regularly during your meditation, relaxation, or yoga practice. Repetition helps to embed the intention in your subconscious mind, the more relaxed you are, the more it will sink in.

You could even put it on a post it note somewhere you'll see it a lot, perhaps by the side of your bed or set it as a reminder on your phone.

Finally, be patient, persistent & trust the process:

It takes time and determination to make shifts in your thinking patterns and behaviours, but with practice over time, change will come. If it doesn't, it probably means it doesn't resonate with your values and your heart calling. In which case, go back to the beginning of the process, start again, and create a new sankalpa.

Trust in your hearts calling, do your best to align with that and all the magic will be revealed.

If you're one of those people making a money resolution this can be done at any time really. The process of money manifestation is similar to sankalpa but I'd highly recommend a book called "You are badass at making money" by Jen Sincero.

Remember, sankalpa is a tool to align your thoughts and actions with your deepest values. Approach it with sincerity, and let it guide you toward spiritual growth and Self-realization.

Enjoy the process.

Here's a little poll of values, to give you some things to consider while you're creating your sankalpa... There will be some that really stand out for you, start with those. We'd love to know what you (our readers) value most in life so please do click your poll answers so we can get to know you a little better :)

Which of these do you value most?

  • Integrity: Being honest, ethical, & true to one's principles

  • Authenticity: Embracing and expressing one's true self

  • Compassion: Demonstrating kindness, and concern for others

  • Resilience: Facing challenges with strength & adaptability

You can vote for more than one answer.


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