"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now" Goethe
A new year usually comes with making resolutions, I’m not a fan of resolutions, they tend to feel more like a punishment, giving ourselves orders such as “I will lose 10 pounds” or “I will stop drinking caffeine” These are statements of will. They are temporary, negative and punishing and hence really hard to ‘keep’. An intention or in yoga speak a sankalpa goes deeper. It is expressed in positive, uplifting language.
A Sankalpa starts from the premise that you ALREADY are who you need to be to fulfill your lifes dharma (purpose) hence a sankapla is phrased in the present tense. Instead of “I will be more patient” think “I am patient with those I love“ or instead of “I won’t eat junk food” think “I feed my body healthy, nourishing food”…….you get my drift.
Your intention or Sankalpa, just like linking your breath to movement is a fundamental part of your yoga practice. When you practice with an intention not only do you get the physical, emotional and spiritual benefit of an asana practice you also get to realize a key goal or desire in your life – fabulous! You may already be familiar with intention setting and perhaps have read books such as Ask and It Is Given or The Secret or Eckhart Tolle etc, whether or not this is your bag or you think it’s mumbo jumbo, there is nothing lost from having a little introspective moment and defining things you would like to manifest in your life. Just the very action of this helps us stay on track and focused.
For my pre and postnatal students I believe this exercise of focusing and channeling is especially valuable for us mamas – having a baby and becoming a mother is such a MASSIVE shift in our lives, our thinking, our very existence, that it can be easy to loose sight of the individual we are and when we are caught up in the day to day routines and sleep deprivation our desires become very foggy.
Soooooooo if you would like to journey a little deeper I have laid out a little exercise below to ponder. I would recommend reviewing it when you have at least ½ hr of peace and quiet, let the mind settle and become spacious. Cultivate an attitude of listening, and welcome whatever feelings, images, and thoughts may arise, forget what society/others say you should want and listen to what YOU want. Pour a cuppa tea or a glass of wine, grab a piece of paper and pen and start…….
Righto! so ready to start forming your sankalpa? a few final thoughts to bear in mind before you start……
If your sankalpa is a big honking one perhaps break it down into bite sized pieces, think smaller stepping stone sankalpas to realize your ultimate desire. Define these specific sankalpas and work with one at a time and then as things change switch in a new one (being mindful to work with one for a good amount of time so it has time to root) Aim to have them cohesive and complimentary rather than all scattered, don’t want fragmented energy, it isn’t as powerful.
Don’t feel pressured to have massive life changing sankalpa maybe your sankalpa is “I am compassionate towards my need of 1 hour of my own time a day to do whatever I wish” you would then repeat your sankalpa and put the wheels in place to make that happen. It is no less powerful and you will often find taking care of these will lead towards the bigger stuff. Whether your sankapa is seemingly big or seemingly small, it is important to you and that’s all that is important.
Basically just start listening to yourself and writing!!!!!……..see where it goes……if you feel it isn’t going anywhere, take a break, go back……reread and refine. Once the box is opened it is amazing how it all starts to form and collect. No pressure, no one is grading you on this!
You have all the answers, seek within, get started! The following are various questions/thought points I have collected from workshops, Teacher Trainings and my own practice…dive in….
- What 3 things make you happy and bring you joy
- What gives you the greatest sense of excitement, makes you feel alive and motivates you?
- What do you look forward to?
- What brings you greatest satisfaction
- What scares you, do you shy away from?
- After a rich, full life what three things do you want people to say about you?
- After a rich full life, what are 3 things do you want to have accomplished?
- What self-imposed personal limitations get in the way of achieving these accomplishments?
- How specifically would relieving those limitations move you toward being that person?
- Are there any physical limitations that you feel get in the way of achieving these goals?
- How specifically would relieving the physical limitations immediately move you toward the person who achieves those goals?
- What is the biggest dream for yourself and your life?
- How do you think having this would make you FEEL
- What is your most important goal right now? – what specifically should you be devoting your energy and resources towards
Review your notes and thoughts, see what keeps coming up and then form it into a positive present intention. Next bring your memorized sankalpa to the mat to silently say at the start of your practice whenever the mind starts to wander. You could also write it on a sticky and pop it on your mirror or somewhere you look at often, keep putting the positive energy out there and it will be realized.
wishing you an abundant 2014!
with love, Kat xo