What is sankalpa? It is broken down to mean ~ the highest truth of the heart which is followed above all others. It is an intention that you decide to follow that will serve your highest truth or purpose. Sankalpa is referenced in the Rig Veda which is one of the oldest yogic texts that form the foundation of our philosophical understandings of yoga. I have been to many yoga classes where the instructor will invite students to set an intention for the class. May it be to dedicate it to someone or a feeling inside such as “I am joy” or “I am courageous”. The wonderful thing about sankalpa is that it posits that you already are the intention you wish to fulfill. It is just that we must realize and use our mind to focus on bringing out these qualities within ourselves, to connect within. I find this concept to be innately beautiful. Imagine…all the doubts you have about yourself, the unsure thoughts, the potential harmful self-talk you may have from time to time- become non-existent. There is no place for doubt when we already are what we wish to be. So confidence inspiring, with such conviction and above all so validating of who we are and what we are capable of doing. I am what I am meant to be. I am capable of fulfilling my dharma or my purpose in this life. There is no question.
How does Ashtanga Yoga help us to see our Sankalpa?
Yoga helps us to tune in, to become aware of the thought processes and internal obstacles that make the awareness of our abilities become obscure. We live in a society ridden with self-doubt and unfulfillable ideals. It is like we all want to be something that we think we are not able to be. There must be some impossible task to create dis-ease and woe in our hearts. Why???? Why do we want to feel inadequate? Why do we buy in to these ideals which are unattainable, therefore causing a sense of incapability?
It is only when we are challenged that we can truly call on our innate abilities. They will automatically come to the forefront because we need them. It is not easy to commit yourself to doing a physically challenging practice on a daily basis. Ashtanga calls to us to do this. It asks us to be present, to breathe into difficulty, to find ease in what creates uneasiness. Yin and Yang are called to become one. A synchronicity within our internal controls is the savior to our woes. It is part of our creation. We live. We die. We are part of a cycle of life much greater than our individuality that we never ever become disconnected from. It is the fuel, the breath, the momentum of our existence. Sankalpa. Dharma. Life force. These qualities are one and the same. Ashtanga helps to repeatedly identify the strength and perseverance of what lies within so that our Sankalpa may become clear.
Sankalpa makes me think about my highest truth and why we exist. What is my purpose?
It’s a difficult thing to contemplate. What is the purpose of existence if we are merely part of a cycle? Why is sankalpa important? I believe it is a question we can only find the answer to in our own way. For me, I have only glimpsed my truth, most notably it has been in some deep conversations with my grandma that I have found some peace and a little bit of insight. I feel that part of my highest truth is to be of service to make the world a better place. I see this in my Grandma. My grandmother is a very strong woman. Among her impressive qualities are enduring love, she gives of herself freely with no expectation. She is compassionate, so giving of all of herself, her thoughts, her love and her life. I connected with her at a very young age. She made me feel strong, appreciated, capable and most of all, loved. I always felt that she would be there for me, even if I faltered or if there was negativity surrounding me. Her care was and is unconditional to this very day in her 85th year of life. She has discussed death and how life is part of this cycle with me from her perspective. When I hear her speak of it, I feel part of her knowing and understanding that it is just part of what it is to be a human being. Now that fact is mere science, but the understanding of it is a much deeper and darker reality that some priming for is a gift. My granny is a beautiful gift of so many things, I am grateful to be among those blessed to be a part of her family and life.
You see, I view my Sankalpa as an intention with the undertone of service, of giving. The ultimate gift is to give without expectation. This is what may be the sankalpa of my daily life in little bits each day. I can be giving of my heart, to listen, to be thoughtful, to be supportive, to be kind. Like my grandma. Think about those little intentions that you can do each day to fulfill your own personal Sankalpa – I am courageous. I am joy. I am forgiveness. I am light. I am giving. We are really all of these things already. Do you know that? Find the beauty within you. It is strong. Share it with others and relish in the happiness that it gives you to make another feel your love. Do it without expectation. Find your Sankalpa and live it each day. How wonderful is it to be able to live your purpose, your highest truth, in little acts each and every day?
Best Wishes to you all my friends. May the new week bring many smiles, laughter and love to you💖
Lisa Michelle xo