by Matt Wierzbicki
Sankalpa is a resolve, to be selected with careful consideration and mentally repeated three times at the beginning and end of Yoga Nidra (relaxation practice). It can also be repeated just before sleep and upon waking, or at other times when the mind is calm and quite e.g. when you are in nature or during meditation.
The word Sankalpa is derived from two Sanskrit root words: san which means “union”, “together” and kalpa which means “possibility” or “every possibility in existence”. When we use a Sankalpa, we are directing our awareness to a particular possibility that exists within us, making it a goal towards which we are moving. The process is to change the conditioning of the mind, the thoughts, behavior and attitudes. Therefore, the Sankalpa or positive affirmation in yoga has two purposes. The first is to remove the conditioning of the mind which makes us think and behave in a particular way, and to become more creative, positive and open. The second purpose of Sankalpa is to provide a positive aim in life so that we are purposefully creating rather than letting the tides of life carry us here and there. It is a way to harness our mental energy in a positive and constructive way.
The Sankalpa should be a short and concise statement using positive language and may start as “I can…..” or “I am……” or “I will…….” . It is important that it comes from the heart so there is feeling with the resolve, knowing that in time it will come true. Also try not to let the statement be a negation e.g. if you wanted to quite smoking then you can say ” I will only adopt healthy habits in my life” rather than focusing on trying to stop smoking.
It is best not to put a time limit to your Sankalpa as this will only lead to stress and disappointment. Also it may take a little time to find the Sankalpa which is fine, take your time to find the perfect and most appropriate resolve. Once selected it is important to stick with your Sankalpa and not waiver from it until it comes to fruition. It’s like planting a seed which requires nurturing and attending to and in time it will grow and bear the fruits.