Have you ever wanted to change a habit or achieve a goal, but found that you kept getting stuck or “falling off the wagon”? This yogic tool, called a “sankalpa”, can help!
It’s essentially an extra-powerful intention setting ritual, woven into a meditation or yoga nidra practice to help rewire your subconscious mind. Below, let’s see the meaning of sankalpa, how to create one, and how to use it for best results.
What is Sankalpa?
Setting a sankalpa is similar to setting a goal or intention – but it is not the same thing, so don’t get them confused! When you set a sankalpa, you assume that you already have the thing that you’re striving to achieve. Yes, it sounds contradicting, but this is the essence of non-dualistic teachings: that you already are whole, yet at the same time, you are constantly growing and becoming.
Thus, when you state your sankalpa, you state it in the present tense, not in the future. Whereas with goal setting, you’ll usually say something like “I will lose 10 pounds”, your sankalpa in this case may sound more like “my body feels fit, strong, and healthy”.
As you would have realized, Sankalpa has a very similar working principle to the Law of Attraction.
How to choose/create a sankalpa?
In order to create a sankalpa, first, you must realize that your sankalpa will change with time. You may follow one sankalpa for a week, and another one for ten years; it depends!
Begin by dropping the following question into your heart. It may help to get out a journal to contemplate your answer.
What is my soul’s deepest desire at this moment?
You might hear several different answers come up. If so, ask yourself: Which of these desires feels the most nurturing?
For example, perhaps one desire which arises is to buy a nicer car, while another desire is to call in more clients for your business.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that you feel a calm excitement when you consider attaining more business clients. On the other hand, you feel stressed when you think about that car you’re striving for. In this case, go with the business clients!
Remember to state your sankalpa in the present tense– as if it’s already yours. In this case, you might say: I enjoy an abundance of clients in my business.
Sankalpa examples – words/statements to use
Here are a few examples of sankalpas, in case you need help setting yours!
Desire: manifest a heart-centered romantic relationship
Sankalpa example: I feel deeply loved and fulfilled in my relationship with my partner.
Desire: transition to a more fulfilling career
Sankalpa example: I wake up excited for work and I go to bed feeling fulfilled every day.
Desire: attain a higher level of inner peace
Sankalpa example: I feel deeply peaceful every day.
How to start a morning sankalpa practice to manifest your desires?
For your sankalpa to properly take effect, you need to recite it every day. However, the method you use to recite your sankalpa matters just as much as the words themselves!
In order for your sankalpa to begin “working”, your best bet is to recite it as you enter into a meditative state. This is where yoga nidra comes into play.
Yoga nidra actually means “yogic sleep”; it is basically a reclined meditation which traditionally lasts for an hour or so, but when using it as a daily practice, you can shorten it as needed. This practice helps to turn off the thinking mind, allowing you to enter into a half-sleeping, half-awake state. In this state, your subconscious is more receptive to influence, since the conscious thinking mind is no longer butting in with its doubts and analysis.
With this said, you can practice either meditation or yoga nidra every morning, reciting your sankalpa silently or out loud the entire time. Remember, to use your sankalpa as an affirmation and as you do so, to trust that your sankalpa is already so, already true.
Don’t forget: unless you fully believe that you are whole, just as you are, it’s unlikely that your sankalpa will take its full effect.
If you’re new to meditation or yoga nidra, the following video is a guided option for you to try:
3 main benefits of a sankalpa practice
1. Implement new habits without force or frustration
Whenever you attempt to change a pattern or start a new habit, such as practicing yoga daily, but you end up falling off the wagon a few weeks later in frustration, a sankalpa can help!
Repeating your sankalpa while in a deep state of meditation can gradually rewire the subconscious mind, breaking through any blocks that keep you from attaining your goals.
2. Attain focus on your intention
These days, most of our lives contain a multitude of moving parts: jobs, kids, housework, spouse, hobbies, exercise… It’s no wonder that we struggle to create new, positive habits in our lives! By using a sankalpa, you can help your mind to focus on one thing at a time.
This way, you’re less likely to “forget” about that new habit you want to create, or that goal that you’re working towards.
3. Discover your heart’s true desires
Do you know what you really want? As we mentioned earlier, you may think you know what you want, only to find that when you get it, you’re not as satisfied as you thought you’d be.
When you create a sankalpa, even if you start with one which seems like an egoic desire (such as a goal to buy a new car), the practice itself of spending time with your sankalpa in meditation will lead you to a deeper connection with your heart and your higher self.
As a result, you’ll become more and more aware of what would truly fulfill you in this lifetime.
Summing it up
All in all, if you’ve been setting goals your entire life, you may benefit from setting sankalpas instead. Where goals fail to rewire the subconscious mind, sankalpas step in to clear blocks that stand between you and the highest version of yourself. Bottom line, though: don’t forget that you are already whole, with or without those achievements, and you’re sure to reap your sankalpa’s positive benefits!