Sankalpa is a yogic practice which can actually be used by anyone to brighten up their lives and bring them peace and tranquility. It comes form the sanskrit words san and kalpa, the former being a call or commitment to a higher power or higher truth, and the latter is a resolution of the will. As such, Sankalpa harnesses the twin energies of a deeply felt will and commitment.
You know how every New Year you make a set of resolutions for yourself, always excited to improve yourself on the following year? Some of the most common resolutions have to do with planning to always read newspapers or follow the news, or going to gym regularly. You wait weeks so you can ‘initiate’ that phase of your life, and then you do it religiously for a week and then give up, again.
Why does this happen? It’s because you make those resolutions from a standpoint that you are not good enough, driven by ego and external validation, and you collapse because you cannot but be who you are.
This is why Sankalpa is such a refreshing alternative. It doesn’t ask change of you. It doesn’t want you to try and be a different person, simply be the best version of yourself. It recognizes the major difference between “I will”, and “Thy will.” It is a reminder of your true nature and guiding force for all your heartfelt desires. It is successful mostly because if lets you have faith in yourself.
As for the process, Yogis and Yoginis often prefer to start their session with a deep relaxation period wherein they silently make a brief resolve, a positive statement, to themselves. This is repeated thrice. It can be done before meditation, before Yoga, or even first thing in the morning. The aim is to create and truly live the life we were meant to live, one that would make us happy, instead of chasing after fallacies of desire that cannot possibly result in happiness.
As for the making of the Sankalpas, it is suggested that instead on delving on the “what if’s” or “I want’s” you delve on the positive aspects of your being. Some suggestions for Sankalpas provided by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in “Yoga Nidra” are:
“I awaken my spiritual potential”
“I am a positive force for the evolution of others”
“I am successful in all that I undertake”
“I am more aware and efficient”
“I achieve total health.”
Different Types Of Sankalpa
Furthermore, there are two different types of Sankalpas that you should be aware of:
- The first is a positive statement about something you already possess, like “I am at peace with myself.”
- The second one is determined by goals that you’ve set out for yourself. You are advised to aim for small achievable milestones, and then slowly make your way up to your main goal.
Benefits Of Sankalapa
As for how Sankalpa can benefit you? It can make you feel at more peace with yourself, feel satisfied in yourself, and thus because of that inner harmony you can better set out to achieve your milestones. This is opposed to general resolutions which focus on what you “want”, and that implies you focus more on what you “don’t have”, and that negative energy stemming from a place of lack, is ultimately self-defeating and thus your resolutions can never sustain themselves.
Sankalpa focuses instead on what you do have, which is peace, and serenity, and thus makes your goals more sustainable. However, humans are fallible and you must allow yourself to fail and err, and not criticize yourself. Change is never immediate, however you have to be persistent and regular with your Sankalpa. It has to become a part of your inner self, a part of your routine.