The Yogic alternative to New Year’s Resolutions


Each New Year sees us setting new goals and resolutions. While this is common practice & a good habit to get into, our goals are often a result of the desires of our ego and our senses. Underpinning the fact that the way we are right now is not good enough and what we have now is not enough.

The yoga tradition offers something else here. Something that allows you to listen to your heart and allows you to be who you already are. It is a method you follow to realize your heartfelt desire. It is a meant to – versus want to method. It is the practice of Sankalpa, or positive resolve.

Meant to – versus want to.

Put simply, a Sankalpa is a vow and commitment you make to support who you already are. Your Sankalpa comes from and supports your deepest heartfelt desire. It allows you to live the life you are meant to live. And it allows you to be who you are meant to be. Kalpa means vow, San means a connection with the highest truth. This intention or positive resolve can be as specific or as general as you wish it to be.

How can I find my Sankalpa.

Remember your heartfelt desire is already present. It simply needs to be discovered by you. To find it you need to listen. Listening is a process that will require you to spend time quietly with yourself. Either in daily meditation, or in some form of quiet pursues. Your calm and settled mind will help you find your Sankalpa easily. You do not need to make this up, your mind does not need to go wild. Become quieter and be willing to listen to your heart. Ask what do I really want? Once you know your heart’s desire or even have a vague idea about it, sit with it. Allow the message to be heard, even if the desire seems vague. Let’s say the desire to get fit arises. Now ask yourself why do you want to get fit, what does it give you to be fit, how will you feel once you’re fit? Is it a sense of well-being, acceptance from others, or a sense of self-acceptance or even a sense of freedom? You need to answer this question yourself. Drop your guard. This is about you and your heart’s longing, the feeling you are looking for.

Now what do I do with my Sankalpa?

Your Sankalpa or positive resolve needs to be repeated and remembered. And because it is a vow it needs to be stated in the present tense. For example, let’s stay with the fitness goal, the feeling it gives you is more self-respect, so your Sankalpa in the present tense would be “I love and accept myself fully. I am a loving person and I am loved.” Or say you want to become more patient, your Sankalpa will sound like “I am a patient person. Patience is my natural way of being”. The most powerful way to state your Sankalpa is in meditation, particularly in Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra?!

Yoga Nidra is a way of deep meditation. Nidra means sleep. In Yoga Nidra the body and mind are systematically relaxed and you enter a state of deep awareness. In this deep state of awareness and receptiveness you are asked to state to yourself your own Sankalpa, your heart’s desire, in the present tense. Over time your Sankalpa will become your conscious reality, allowing you to manifest goals and overcome unsupportive habits. The transformative power of Yoga Nidra and Sankalpa are profound.

If you like to feel this for yourself, you are welcome to attend one of our monthly meditation workshops, where Yoga Nidra is a big part of.