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Sankalpa: Reflections and Intentions for the New Year with Yoga



A Sankalpa tunes the arrow of your intention to the bow of your soul.


Sankalpa comes from San = connection with truth. Kalpa = vow.


A sankalpa is a concept in Vedic thought and found in yoga philosophy that connects us to our own deep truth.


A sankalpa is both a huge calling and a small step to move you in the direction of that calling. I think of the true calling Sankalpa as the “Big S” Sankalpa - the one that connects to one’s deep purpose and dharma in life. And the “small s” sankalpa, or a goal or step along the path!


It can take time to hear the message of the heartfelt call of your soul and courage to listen and then heed it!


For me, it often takes asana, pranayama, dhyana - or some combination of postural practice, working with breath and energy and meditation to tune into the depth of my soul. You might try these, step by step.


What I find so helpful about yoga philosophy is that we don’t necessarily have to know the final destination to take meaningful steps on the path! In the yoga tradition we are given clear steps to take towards a small “s” Sankalpa - that lead us towards our highest self.


There are 3 steps to refining your Sankalpa - and connecting to our true purpose.

  1. Listen - Sravana

  2. Turn towards - Manana

  3. Embrace - Nididhyasana

Let’s break these down a bit!

Hearing - listening Sravana (ear) usually to sacred texts or teachings. This is the opening of your mind and heart to deep listening. The kind of listening we’ve talked about, with satya, that invites your own or another’s truth into being. This is listening in a way that is open to hear the message of your heartfelt desires. Resting, relaxing, slowing down to settle your mind, practicing meditation, prayer, reading sacred texts and then opening a wide open space for simply reflecting, all allows one to hear the messages of the heart.


Embracing - The second step of Sankalpa is manana, or turning towards. Like a warm embrace, this is the act of turning to and welcoming the message in. After spending time in quiet or repose, lazing about, doing nothing, insight alights in! When you hear the whisper or call, you get to be with it. To heed it. To turn towards it, feel it and reflect on it deeply.


3. Acting - The final stage. nididhyasana, is the brave leap from passive to active willingness. Here you are invited to move beyond reflection into action and engage with what your heartfelt desire invites you to do. to do what the heartfelt desire requires of you. Often, this final stage is a call to share your truth with the world, to live in love, to share and spread the insight that you have gained through the depth of your life and practice. “It will call you into action, into the world,” says Miller. “You must be willing to respond.”

Tune in to your highest self. Why are you here? Listen to your soul. This is about who you are BECOMING aligning with who you already ARE.

1 Listen - Sravana 2. Turn towards - Manana 3. Embrace - Nididhyasana.

Discovering your sankalpa can happen now and over a lifetime.

Let me know what you hear, turn towards, embrace and act!


Let’s share our sankalpa’s and support one another in taking our yoga off the mat and into action!





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