Sankalpa - woman doing yoga

I was first introduced to the sankalpa during my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program during a Yoga Nidra practice. This practice forever changed the trajectory of my life. By listening to my teacher guide me into a state between consciousness and unconsciousness, I was able to create my sankalpa by crystallizing what my heart’s true desire was and begin to allow it to manifest and unfold in my life.

What is a sankalpa?

A sankalpa is an idea that’s formed when your heart and your mind, together, make a solemn vow—determined to perform and fulfill the intention set, regardless of what it is they have to do to get there. A sankalpa is a heart’s longing statement. It’s a statement that’s positive, clear and concise, and said with full determination. It should be taken very seriously and not be just a small goal or a resolution you won’t fulfill.

Aaron Starr from Blue Osa Yoga Resort explains it as a way to discriminate what you allow into your mind. The more yoga you do, the more you will start to witness your inner world manifesting in the outer world. Your sankalpa will only manifest itself if you listen to it—if you allow it to rise to the surface and scream out what your soul is searching for. Once you’ve chosen a sankalpa there’s no turning back. The sankalpa must be fulfilled before you’re allowed to choose another one. Rod Stryker, an expert on the sankalpa, explains it as “the rule to be followed above all other rules.”

How to create a sankalpa

Think about what areas of your life you would like to improve and how you might want your personality to change, as well as the purpose of your life. Take a minute and look deep inside your heart. Listen to your soul and find something that you have deep desire for. When you close your eyes and sit within yourself, what pulls on your soul?

Your sankalpa neither has to be elaborate nor specific or general. Your sankalpa is what you feel, which means it can never be wrong.

Choose what’s the most important of what you feel reaching out from your heart, and out of that formulate just one sentence that will allow you to attain that goal. There should only be one sankalpa that aims at just one goal. This allows your mind to focus and your chances of succeeding are much greater.

The sankalpa you create is short and made in first person. It involves you and is joyous and positive. Refrain from using any negative words such as can’t/don’t/won’t etc.

For example, if your desire is to recover from a medical condition you should phrase your sankalpa, “I am not sick,” or “My body is strong and healthy,” or “I am in perfect health.” There are many different options—chose something that resonates with you, making sure it comes from the heart.

When you decide on a sankalpa, stick with that sankalpa until the effects are complete or you have succeeded in the goal set. Try your best not to create a new sankalpa until the first one has been fulfilled. This will allow the body, mind, and soul to dive deep into the sankalpa and allow it to succeed rather than getting distracted by trying to work on too many things.

What next?

Now that you have your sankalpa, carry it with you. Bring it into every yoga or meditation practice. Repeat it before you go to bed at night; when you wake up in the morning. Allow your heart to truly believe that it’s true and that it’s happening—now in the present moment. Allow your sankalpa to envelop you and enjoy the effects of it.

And so I end with this note. Be careful what you wish for. The universe responds to the thoughts that you put out there. It hears you, even when you don’t think it’s listening. It sees you for who you truly are. Look deep inside your heart and seek the truth your soul is longing for.

Where will your sankalpa take you?

Elizabeth Arnold is a 200-hour yoga teacher, Thai Bodywork Practitioner, and world traveller. She’s currently exploring the meaning of life through yoga, natural healing and travel. She’s writing from Blue Osa Yoga Retreat & Spa in Costa Rica. You can find out more about Elizabeth at www.bethanneyoga.com.

image: Girl doing yoga asana upavishtha konasana shirshasana via Shutterstock