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Home  Sankalpa – the Yogic Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions
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Thursday, January 8,2015

Sankalpa – the Yogic Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

By Kim Hough

Hang on to your party hats! This is the time of year we enter the whirlwind of many marketing campaigns for “New Year – New You!” Most of us make New Year resolutions focusing on self-improvement from losing weight, to quitting something, to being more organized, but unfortunately most New Year’s resolutions falter as the weeks pass. One reason for such a short spell may be simply because the resolutions spring from the misguided desires of the ego, senses, and conditioning starting from an assumption that who you are is not good enough, and are based on reenforcements of some negative habit or situation such as, “I will lose weight” – message: “You are too fat,” or “I will get better organized” – message: “You are undisciplined.” Almost every New Year’s resolution starts with two words: “I will.” We summon our willpower and pledge to change not just what we do but who we are. We set goals and imagine how happy we will be when we get what we want. Instead of starting the year with all the things you are not, take this time to initiate something new – the yogic version of a New Year’s resolution is called Sankalpa.

A Sanskrit word, from the ancient language of India, Sankalpa is usually translated as intention or purpose. The word “san” means together and “kalpa” means to bring about, so the essence might be considered as “becoming one with.” A Sankalpa practice starts from the radical premise you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life purpose. You don’t need to summon your willpower to attain it or keep it alive as it is your heartfelt desire and you just need to get quiet enough to get clear about it. It starts with kindness towards yourself and acceptance that deep down we all have a base that is perfect from which we can draw the energy to grow and evolve. While a resolution often zeros in on a perceived negative aspect of ourselves (as in, “I want to lose weight so no more ice cream and chocolate chip cookies.”), a sankalpa explores what is behind the thought or feeling (I crave ice cream and cookies when I am feeling stressed or sad. I will set an intention to become conscious of this craving and allow my feelings to arise and pass rather than fill up on fats.”). New Year’s resolutions can leave you feeling guilty and mad at yourself for not keeping them. A Sankalpa praises the nobility of the effort rather than focusing on what you are doing wrong. A New Year’s resolution often derives from ego-driven desires – what will make me more successful, or more beautiful. Like a flashlight, a Sankalpa shines our inner light toward conscious change. Sankalpa has a spiritual dimension; it is a statement of deeply held fact, a vow that is true in the present moment. It speaks to the overriding purpose for being here. Stating your Sankalpa in present tense acknowledges the tremendous will, energy, and truth that arrive with the discovery of your heartfelt desire. It also reminds you that whatever is required of you is already within you.

To set a Sankalpa, set aside time to write in a journal and to meditate. If you did lose weight, would you allow yourself to feel beautiful or powerful? What self-destructive habits conflict with your higher purpose? Listen to your heartfelt desires by letting your vision of yourself and the world be big, and think about who and how you want to be in that vision. Start writing down qualities of that vision and observe how your heart space feels as you write them down. The ones that resonate with you come from your heart not your ego. Looking at these qualities and some of the intentions you have set, can you find an underlying desire that unifies them all? Now make a statement in the present tense. For example for spiritual growth: “I am a channel of Divine love and my energy expands for the benefit of all,” or “I am awakening my Spiritual potential,” or “Compassion is my true nature.”

Remember “where attention goes, energy flows.” This year, rather than setting a New Year’s resolution that can be soon forgotten and is based around a need to change, let your Sankalpa statement be something you can call on again and again reminding you of your true nature and guiding your decisions, reinforcing the magnificence you already have – your true nature.

Join Kim Hough Sunday, January 18, 2015 at Duncan Conference Center, Delray Beach. Be prepared for a magical afternoon of powerful and transformative energy that will žStir Your SoulÓÓ In this workshop you will learn some Chi Gong and Energy Healing exercises and participate in breath work, receive Reiki and be led in guided meditation while experiencing healing tones of voice, Tablas, various bamboo flutes, Balinese Gongs and Tibetan singing bowls. This workshop concludes with a Sacred Sound Bath. More info Visit


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