5 tips on how to choose a sankalpa

_MG_5086How many times have you heard (or perhaps will hear) the word sankalpa mentioned during a Yoga class?

Well, let’s explain a little more, a sankalpa is a resolve or intention that is specifically (*traditionally only) made during the practice of Yoga nidra. Sankalpa is a short phrase or sentence, clearly and concisely expressed, using the same wording each time, to bring about a positive change in one’s life. Your sankalpa remains private to you and is not something to be shared with another person.

5 notes and tips about sankalpa

1. Sankalpa is a resolve made during the practice of Yoga Nidra
2. It consists of a short-phrase or sentence clearly expressed focusing on a chose goal
3. You use the same words each time to bring about positive change in your life
4. The choice of sankalpa is important its aim is to bring out the best in us
5. The mind nurtures the sankalpa at a deep level like a seed that is planted

You can say that the main purpose of Yoga nidra is to realise one’s sankalpa. Whether this is true or not, sankalpa has the potential to release tremendous power by clearly defining and focusing on a chosen goal. Its effect is to awaken the willpower within by uniting the conscious awareness with the unconscious forces lying dormant. (Satyananda).

5 tips on how to choose a sankalpa:

1. Possibly to reform a habit
2. Improve the quality of life / living
3. Creating changes/ in our personality
4. Realising what you want to achieve in life
5. The sankalpa can also be visualised

Typically four stages are described for a sankalpa: (i) the reforming of habits, (ii) improving the quality of life and living, (iii) creating a real change within our personality, and (iv) realising what we are trying to achieve in this life – the sankalpa is really always one. But to recognise the deepest quality of sankalpa we may have to go through some of the stages along the way like stepping-stones across a river, each step within reach of the previous one. (Satyananda).

It is said that the sankalpa would not change until is realised and comes to fruition; however, this can be difficult, as often people may not know what they want, and will not know their sankalpa. Let’s say your initial intention is to give up smoking and you succeed, naturally the sankalpa to stop smoking will change. It’s about the transition from one stepping-stone to the next, and then you may say that a higher resolve can be made, and so on until the real nature of sankalpa is realised, as the bigger picture becomes clearer.

There is no need to struggle to or force a sankalpa, it can take time to find the right sankalpa, there is no rush, let it come intuitively to you, this is what gives it power and strength. Remember if you don’t have a sankalpa the beginning and end of Yoga nidra is the perfect time to reflect on what your sankalpa could be.

Yoga Nidra sessions are practised during Yoga Workshops and Restorative Yoga sessions led by Jasmin Bahia.

During our Yoga Teacher Training Programmes Yoga teacher trainees will have the opportunity to practice yoga nidra led by Jasmin Bahia.

•Note sometime you may be asked during a physical Yoga class you attend (outside of Bahia Yoga) about sankalpa/intention for the class and to create or think of an intention or a sankalpa for your 60 minute or 90 minute class. This may be a good to way to start thinking of one slowly. However, please note traditionally (in line with the Satyananda and Bihar School of Yoga) a sankalpa is practiced and repeatedly only during Yoga Nidra.

  • Cat Woods

    Thanks Bahia Yoga! I love the idea of the “real nature” of sankalpa underlying our original intention or resolve. So much to discover about ourselves and each other through questioning our intentions and our expectations.