What is Sankalpa?

Sankalpa Is your heartfelt intention.

San= an idea that is formed in the heart

Kalpa= “Committed Intention”

In Yoga Nidra we work with Sankalpa (intention or resolution). We enter and close the Yoga Nidra practice with our sankalpa. This is considered the “seed” of growth in the area of your life that is calling for attention,

This may be in the realm of your state of health, relationship, career or spiritual practice. You welcome sankalpa into the foreground of your conscious mind, and from that place of intention where you are in the relaxed “being” state, this intention is embedded in the subconscious mind.

Neuroscience and mindfulness research have proven that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between what is true or not true- it just follows the orders of the conscious mind.

The ancient teachings of the Upanishads state “You are your deepest desire [sankalpa].“

We don’t hold Sankalpa as a future possibility, but instead plant the seed in a present tense statement as an existing reality. For example :

Instead of I hope to heal (quit smoking, find love, find work, etc) we would use the sankalpa I am whole, healed and healthy (I have everything I need- time, love, finances, etc.).

Other examples might be:

  • I am energetic.

  • I am the embodiment of inner peace.

  • I receive and accept help when I need it.

  • I am successful in all that I undertake.

  • I am financially free.

  • I am loving and loved. 

Sankalpa’s are individual personal intentions. They change with life’s circumstances. We typically work with one sankalpa at a time for several months. When you first practice Yoga Nidra you may just want to work with the simple resolve of“I am at ease and open to insight”

These are basic guidelines for developing a more personal focused sankalpa;

Be aware of the difference of Wants and Needs.

Wants are associated with things that are pleasant and are born from our conditioning or from our base impulses.

Needs are desires that are related to the intrinsic desires of the soul to fulfill it’s higher purpose. To the degree that you can access your soul and allow it to guide you, the less compelled you are to act on desires born from fear, old patterns, low self esteem and past hurts.

Drafting your sankalpa. Ask your self these questions:

  • What do I want to “feel” more of in my life. What circumstances could bring forth more of that feeling?

  • What do I want to achieve or become?

  • In what direction do I want to grow at this point in my life?

  • What would that growth feel or look like to me?

When drafting the sankalpa, here are some key points to keep in mind:

Focus on the result you are seeking, the attitude that will help you achieve it, or both.  Ex.  “I am confident and self assured. I bring the best of myself to every encounter and every opportunity at work”

Write it down! Growth begins on paper. it is a proven fact that solid heartfelt intentions are much more powerful when they start on paper. Out of your heart and head- and solidly written so you can see them.

Be specific. Write it so the change you want to achieve is with 6-18 months from now. This way you will be able to clearly know if you have achieved it. Ex. “The book is finished. I made my deadline. My editor could not be happier”

Believe you can achieve your sankalpa. It’s okay to have some degree of doubt, but for you to succeed, at least 51% (preferable more) of you needs to believe it is possible. Be realistic.

State your Sankalpa in the active, present tense. It’s important that your sankalpa statement reflects that you achieved your resolve- not that you hope to someday.  Ex.  Instead of “ I hope to one day to have healing for my headaches”  stating“I am free of headaches”.

State your sankalpa in words you would actually say. Avoid getting overly poetic or dramatic. Simple, short, direct, believable. 

Don't over think it. if after a few sessions, it does not resonate for you- rewrite it or create a short term sanklapa that will lead your towards your original.  Your soul knows what it wants. Trust yourself.