Thoughts for the New Year: Sankalpa

Did you make one, or many, or maybe have decided to forgo this year’s routine exercise of setting new year’s resolutions?
While it is a worthwhile concept, most ‘resolutions’ are abandoned in the first month. One reason for such a short spell may be simply because such resolutions are based on re-enforcements of some negative habit or situation, such as “Loose weight!” (message: “You are too fat.”), “Stop drinking coffee.” (message: “You are unhealthy.”), “Get better organised.” (message: “You are undisciplined.”) and so on.
Instead of starting the year with all the things you are not, take this time to initiate something new: The yogic version of a New Year’s resolution is called sankalpa, meaning ‘intention’, ‘wish’ or ‘purpose’.
A sankalpa encourages you to look behind the veil of attaining some illusionary ‘You’. As such, it starts with kindness towards yourself and acceptance that deep down we all have a base that is perfect and from which we can draw energy to grow and evolve. A sankalpa is usually very simple, consisting of only one or two words which capture the essence of what you want to be or become. For example, if you find yourself stressed out too much, inquire what is behind the stress and maybe your sankalpa should be “Surrender”, or if you find yourself craving unhealthy foods, explore why this is happening and your sankalpa may be “Nourish yourself”.
The best way to find out what your sankalpa should be is during meditation – you may want to use the quiet time in the beginning or at the end of class to open your mind and who knows – may be a sankalpa will appear!  This sankalpa can become your silent mantra in times when you need some re-affirmation, encouragement or just during quiet meditation.

Namaste, Evelyn

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