What is a Sankalpa? - Aura Wellness Center

What is a Sankalpa?

about philosophy in yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins and Gopi Rao

Many students ask, “What is a Sankalpa?” Teachers usually explain that Sankalpa is an intention, but that barely scratches the surface of an explanation. Imagine having a compass that directs you toward your deepest desires and goals. A Sankalpa is a powerful intention or resolve that guides us toward our most authentic selves. Let’s explore Sankalpa’s origins, creation process, and practical application so you can start harnessing its transformative power in your life.


Understanding Sankalpa

The concept of Sankalpa has its roots in ancient Hindu philosophy. The word “Sankalpa” is derived from the Sanskrit words “San,” which means a connection or union, and “Kalpa,” which refers to an intention or vow. Together, these two words form the essence of what a Sankalpa represents – a powerful statement of intent that connects us to our true desires and goals.

A Sankalpa is more than just a resolution or goal-setting exercise; it is an affirmation that aligns our thoughts, actions, and beliefs with our deepest aspirations. It serves as an anchor and compass during times of uncertainty or self-doubt.

The meaning behind each individual’s Sankalpa can vary greatly depending on personal experiences and aspirations. Some may use their Sankalpa to cultivate self-love and acceptance, while others may focus on manifesting abundance or finding inner peace.

Regardless of its specific content, the purpose of a Sankalpa remains the same – to guide us toward living our lives with greater intentionality and purpose. Setting clear intentions through our Sankalpas creates a roadmap for transformation and growth.

As we delve deeper into understanding the origin and meaning of Sankalpas, it becomes evident that this practice has been passed down through generations as a way to connect with one’s higher self and tap into the limitless potential within. It is believed that using conscious thought patterns paired with heartfelt emotions while reciting our chosen intentions regularly can help rewire neural pathways in our brains, leading us closer to achieving those desired outcomes.

Individuals have reported experiencing profound shifts in their mindset, behavior patterns, and overall well-being by consistently engaging in this process. Successful incorporation requires consistent effort but yields long-lasting benefits such as increased clarity, focus, and resilience.

Whether you incorporate your intention into your yoga practice or recite it during stillness and reflection, this practice serves us like a compass.


Importance of Having a Sankalpa

Having a Sankalpa is essential for personal growth and transformation. It is a guiding principle that aligns your thoughts, actions, and intentions toward achieving your deepest desires and aspirations. By setting a Sankalpa, you are consciously directing the energy of your mind to manifest positive changes in your life.

One of the key benefits of having a Sankalpa is that it helps you stay focused and motivated on your goals. In today’s fast-paced world, we often get caught up in distractions and lose sight of what truly matters to us. A Sankalpa is an anchor that keeps us grounded and reminds us of our purpose.

Furthermore, having a Sankalpa helps cultivate self-discipline and willpower. When faced with challenges or obstacles along our journey, the power of our intention can give us the strength to persevere. It is a constant reminder to stay committed even when things get tough.

Another important aspect is that having a Sankalpa brings clarity into our lives. We understand our deepest desires and values by defining what we truly want. This clarity allows us to make conscious choices aligned with our true selves rather than being driven by external expectations or societal pressures.

Moreover, setting a Sankalpa empowers us to let go of negative patterns or beliefs that no longer serve us. Repeating our chosen affirmation regularly during meditation or yoga practice gradually replaces limiting thoughts with more empowering ones. This shift in mindset opens up new possibilities for growth and self-discovery.

Having a Sankalpa is not just about wishful thinking; it is about harnessing the power within ourselves to create lasting change. By setting clear intentions through regular practice, we can transform our lives from within and move closer to living authentically and joyfully.


Steps to Creating Your Sankalpa

1. Reflect and Identify: Take some time for self-reflection and identify what areas of your life you want to focus on or improve. It could be related to your health, relationships, career, or personal growth.

2. Set an Intention: Once you have identified the area of focus, set a positive intention that aligns with your goals and values. Make sure it is specific, clear, and achievable.

3. Use Positive Language: Frame your Sankalpa in positive rather than negative statements. For example, instead of saying, “I will not procrastinate,” say, “I am focused and productive.”

4. Keep it Simple: Your Sankalpa should be short and concise to resonate with you quickly. Avoid using complex or lengthy statements that may dilute its impact.

5. Repeat Daily: Consistency is critical when working with a Sankalpa. Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and repeat your Sankalpa silently or aloud several times.

6. Visualize the Outcome: As you repeat your Sankalpa daily, visualize yourself already achieving the desired outcome. This helps reinforce the belief in its manifestation.

Remember that creating a Sankalpa is not about instant results but setting an intention and cultivating positive change through consistent practice.


How to Use Your Sankalpa in Daily Life

Using your Sankalpa daily is a powerful way to bring intention and focus into your everyday activities. Here are some practical ways to incorporate your Sankalpa into your daily routine.

1. Morning Reflection: Start your day by taking a few moments to connect with your Sankalpa. Repeat it silently or aloud, allowing its meaning and energy to infuse you with motivation and purpose.

2. Visualization Practice: Throughout the day, take short breaks to visualize yourself embodying the qualities of your Sankalpa. See yourself living in alignment with this intention, feeling empowered and inspired.

3. Affirmations: Create affirmations that align with your Sankalpa and repeat them regularly throughout the day. These positive statements reinforce your belief in yourself and help manifest desired changes.

4. Mindful Action: Bring awareness to every action you take during the day, whether it’s eating a meal, engaging in conversation, or completing tasks at work. Connect each action back to your Sankalpa – how does it support or relate to your intention?

5. Journaling: Take time each evening before bed to reflect on how you embodied or worked towards living out your Sankalpa that day. Write down any insights or challenges faced along the way.

By integrating these practices into your daily life, you can stay connected with the essence of what you want to cultivate through your Sankalpa while navigating various situations and circumstances.

Common Misconceptions about Sankalpas

1. Sankalpas are not just New Year’s resolutions: While setting intentions for the upcoming year is expected, sankalpas go beyond simple resolutions. They are powerful statements that align with your deepest desires and values. Unlike resolutions that often fade away quickly, sankalpas provide long-lasting guidance.

2. Sankalpas require strict discipline: Some believe practicing with a Sankalpa requires rigid discipline and self-control. However, the beauty of Sankalpa lies in its flexibility and adaptability to your individual needs and circumstances. It is not about punishing yourself; instead, it’s about nurturing yourself.

3. You have to be spiritual or religious to have a Sankalpa: Sankalpa can be practiced by anyone regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs. It is a personal tool for growth and transformation, allowing you to connect with your innermost desires and aspirations.

4. A single sankalpa lasts forever: Your goals and desires evolve as you grow personally and spiritually. Therefore, it’s important to reassess your commitments and adjust your Sankalpa accordingly regularly.

5. Sankaplas must always be positive affirmations only: While positive affirmations are popularly used in setting intentions, they don’t have to be the sole focus of your Sankalpa practice. Negative experiences can provide growth opportunities, so acknowledging them within your intention can lead to healing.

Incorporating these insights will help dispel misconceptions surrounding the concept of Sankapas while enabling you to harness its true power in creating meaningful change in your life.


Benefits of Practicing with a Sankalpa

Using a Sankalpa in your daily life and yoga practice can bring numerous benefits. One of the main advantages is that it helps to align your actions, thoughts, and intentions towards a specific goal or purpose. By setting a Sankalpa, you are essentially programming your subconscious mind to work towards manifesting that intention.

Having a clear and focused sankalpa can also provide you with guidance and direction in life. It acts as a compass, helping you make decisions that align with your desires and values. This can lead to increased clarity, confidence, and fulfillment.

Practicing with a Sankalpa also enhances self-awareness. Regularly revisiting your intention during meditation or other mindfulness practices makes you more attuned to your inner thoughts and feelings. This heightened awareness allows for greater introspection and self-reflection.

Furthermore, using a Sankalpa can help cultivate discipline and perseverance. Solid resolve will enable you to stay committed despite setbacks or distractions when faced with challenges or obstacles toward realizing your intention.

Incorporating affirmations into your Sankalpa practice can also profoundly affect mental well-being. Regular positive statements can reprogram negative thought patterns or beliefs held in the subconscious mind.

Practicing with a Sankalpa promotes personal growth and transformation by harnessing the power of intentionality. It serves as an anchor during uncertainty or doubt while inspiring continuous self-improvement.

By embracing this powerful tool, we open ourselves to infinite growth, healing, and fulfillment possibilities.

What is a Sankalpa for Personalized Use?

Examples of Personalized Sankalpas can vary greatly depending on an individual’s goals, desires, and intentions. The beauty of creating a personalized sankalpa is that it is unique to you and reflects your aspirations. Here are some examples to inspire you:

1. “I am worthy of love and happiness.” This Sankalpa focuses on self-love and the belief that you deserve all the joy life offers.

2. “I release fear and embrace courage.” This intention encourages you to let go of limiting beliefs or fears that hold you back, allowing space for the courage to thrive.

3. “I choose gratitude in every moment.” This Sankalpa reminds you to cultivate a mindset of appreciation, finding beauty even in the smallest moments.

4. “I forgive myself and others with compassion.” By setting this intention, you invite forgiveness into your heart, freeing yourself from resentment or grudges.

5. “I live my life authentically, true to myself.” This Sankalpa encourages embracing your authentic self without fear of judgment or societal expectations.

Remember that these examples are just starting points; feel free to customize them according to your preferences.


Incorporating Your Sankalpa

Incorporating Your Sankalpa is essential in making your intentions a part of your daily life. Once you have created your personalized Sankalpa, finding ways to integrate it into your routine is essential. You can consistently connect with your Sankalpa to align your thoughts and actions with your deepest desires.

One way to incorporate your Sankalpa is through morning affirmations. Start each day by repeating your intention out loud or silently to yourself. This sets the tone for the day ahead and reminds you of what truly matters to you.

Another effective method is visualization. Take a few moments each day to visualize yourself aligning with your Sankalpa. See yourself taking steps towards manifesting this intention in all areas of life – relationships, career, health, and personal growth.

You can also create physical reminders of your Sankalpa. Please write it down on sticky notes or place it on a vision board where you can see it regularly throughout the day. These visual cues are gentle prompts that keep you focused on your desired outcome.

Additionally, incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga can deepen the connection with your Sankalpa. During these practices, bring awareness to your intention and allow it to guide you through each breath or movement.

Remember that incorporating your intention is not about forcing outcomes but rather cultivating an inner shift toward alignment with your highest self. By integrating our intentions into our daily lives, we invite transformation from within.

The Importance of Sankalpa During Yoga Nidra Practice

During a Yoga Nidra practice, the importance of having an intention cannot be overstated. “Sankalpa” originates from Sanskrit and can be translated as an intention or resolve. It is a guiding principle that helps us align our actions with our deepest desires.

When we incorporate an intention into our Yoga Nidra practice, it becomes like a seed planted in the fertile soil of our subconscious mind. As we enter deep relaxation, the mind becomes more receptive to positive suggestions and affirmations. Repeating your personalized Sankalpa during this state is programming your mind for success and transformation.

A clear and specific Sankalpa allows you to focus on manifesting your desire. It serves as a reminder of your purpose and keeps you aligned with your intentions even outside your yoga practice.

By consistently working with your Sankalpa during Yoga Nidra, you rewire any negative thought patterns or beliefs holding you back. This process can lead to profound shifts in mindset, behavior, and overall well-being.

Remember that creating and using a Sankalpa is not about instant gratification or magical thinking but about taking conscious steps toward personal growth and self-realization. So reflect on what truly matters to you and craft a meaningful Sankalpa that resonates with your heart’s desires.

Incorporate this powerful tool into your Yoga Nidra practice today and witness its transformative effects unfold in all areas of your life.


What is a Sankalpa for Daily Life?

Once you have created and established your Sankalpa, it is crucial to integrate it into your daily life. This means finding ways to remind yourself of your intention throughout the day and actively incorporating it into your thoughts, words, and actions.

One way to incorporate your Sankalpa in daily life is through mindfulness. Each morning, reflect on your Sankalpa before starting your day. Repeat it silently or aloud as a mantra, allowing its meaning and purpose to sink deep into your consciousness.

Throughout the day, whenever you encounter challenges or moments of decision-making, pause briefly and reconnect with your Sankalpa. Ask yourself how you can align your choices with this intention. By doing so, you are reinforcing its power and allowing it to guide you toward positive change.

Another way to incorporate your Sankalpa is through journaling or writing exercises. Set aside time each day to write about how you have lived according to your intention. Reflect on any progress made or areas where further growth may be needed. This process helps keep you accountable and deepens the connection between yourself and your Sankalpa.

Additionally, consider creating visual reminders of your Sankalpa placed strategically around your living space or workspace. These could be affirmations written on sticky notes or images that represent what you want to manifest in alignment with your intention.

What is a Sankalpa’s Purpose?

We have explored the concept of Sankalpa and its significance in our lives. A Sankalpa is not just a mere resolution or goal; it is a powerful intention that aligns us with our true purpose and helps us manifest positive change.

From ancient Vedic traditions, Sankalpa means “will” or “determination.” It represents the deep-rooted desires and aspirations within us that drive us toward growth and self-improvement.

Having a Sankalpa gives our lives direction and meaning. It acts as a guiding light, providing clarity amidst life’s challenges. By setting an intentional focus through our sankalpas, we can harness our inner power to transform ourselves and create positive changes in various aspects of life.


Creating your intention involves introspection and identifying your core values, desires, and intentions. Once you have crafted your Sankalpa statement, it becomes a daily reminder to live in alignment with your deepest aspirations.

Consider reciting your Sankalpa during meditation or mindfulness practices to incorporate it into daily life. Repeat it silently or aloud while focusing on its meaning and allowing its energy to permeate every aspect of your being.

It’s essential to address some common misconceptions surrounding Sankalpa. While they may resemble affirmations at first glance, they differ in their purpose – affirmations often aim to convince the conscious mind of something new. At the same time, Sankalpa works deeper by connecting with one’s authentic self.

Practicing with a Sankalpa offers numerous benefits, such as increased motivation, enhanced self-awareness, improved resilience in challenging times, and overall well-being. By working consciously with our intentions through regular practice, intentions can help us overcome obstacles toward personal growth and transformation.


© Copyright Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Setting a Sankalpa for the Year

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

What is a Sankalpa? A Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word translated as “purpose, will, or determination.” Setting a Sankalpa is the Yogic equivalent of making a New Year’s resolution. However, a Sankalpa differs from a New Year’s resolution. A Sankalpa, or chosen goal or course of action, ideally supports one’s worth, dignity, and dharma or unique contribution to the world.

Many Yoga practices helped us connect with the divinity at the core of our hearts. When we pick a Sankalpa or guiding purpose for the coming year, the chosen goal must align with the knowledge that we are all sparks of divinity. Additionally, it is crucial to select a Sankalpa that supports our understanding of our dharma in the world.

One way to clearly define a goal or intention for the coming year is to contemplate the result of following through on the Sankalpa you chose. For example, if you have decided that learning Sanskrit will help your spiritual growth. As a result, learning the language will also help you to offer more profound spiritual wisdom to your Yoga students. Therefore, implementing this intention may help you fully provide your unique skills and talents to the world around you.

On the other hand, if you decide your Sankalpa will be to hone your ability to practice Yoga inversion postures without the support of a wall before you are prepared to do so, you may end up undermining your ability to offer your unique abilities and skills to the world if you injure yourself by falling on your head!

One of the first steps to clarifying a Sankalpa for the coming year is to calm and quiet the fluctuations of the mind. According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, this is one of the primary goals of any Yoga practice. There are many techniques for quieting the vrittis or thought waves of the mind.

A very effective way of quieting the mind is to practice pranayama exercises. Some different breathing exercises will help to soothe, cleanse, and purify the mind. Dirga Pranayama is a very accessible breathing exercise that will help calm the entire body by balancing the nervous system and quieting the mind. When the mind and body are calm and clear, it is much easier to define a Sankalpa for the year wisely.

What is a Sankalpa? It’s more than a resolution, because this is an intention for a lifestyle change or it may be part of your Yoga Nidra practice. Ultimately, the intention is repeated during the day, mantra practice, or in the beginning and end of Yoga Nidra practice. As a result, the mind is programmed by positive intentions.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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