By mellowburnyoga, Jan 2 2020 07:58PM
Since I can remember, New Year signals the time to start assessing all the things we’re not happy with in our lives. Goals include mostly promises of ‘I will not do…’ or ‘I will get…’ – fill the blanks. We just love to imagine how much better life will be when we reach the desires we set.
Why do we always want more? Trained and encouraged by society, media and capitalism, we see things as ‘not good enough’ and think we need to change ourselves based on expectations of others.
But isn’t it funny how ideals of ‘better’ usually involve looking different, spending money and buying stuff?!
Problem is, once we get the wish list… there’s always another something else!
What if we radically addressed our notion of what makes us happy?
Is happiness really just about acquiring what we (think we) want?
There’s a wonderful yogic philosophy I’d like to share with you called Sankalpa.
Literally meaning ‘connection to vow’, Sankalpa is about realising an intuitive and deep internal knowledge about ourselves.
The great part about Sankalpa is – it’s already there inside you! Your job is to uncover it.
In short, it’s all about your purpose. A calling if you like. What you’re doing here for this ride as a human on earth. Sankalpa is about being exactly who you are meant to be.
Once you’ve realised your purpose, Sankalpa means to commit to that. To be guided by it in everything you do. That purpose (or Dharma) becomes your focus for the way we live your life. Because the soul is aligned with the behaviour, you can reach the kind of contented harmony that puts the finger up at anything materialistic or superficial!
So How Do you Find Out What Your Sankalpa is?
That my friend is the journey! Sankalpa isn’t about to just jump up out of the proverbial bushes and shout HEY YOU! I’m HERE! PRINT A LABEL! It’s something that will be realised with due diligence and obviously this kind of life changing realisation takes time.
Like with anything that evokes life changing wisdom you need tools to get you there. Meditation and Yoga are the recipe for finding your Sankalpa. Learning to access your peaceful self (as we do in mellowburn yoga classes), brings you home and makes space for you to observe what is actually going on with you.
Your own reactions, thoughts, instincts, and non-judgmental realisations eventually parts the tide towards a truth about what you really want, deep down. The insights that you gather dutifully in your meditation and yoga practice opens a door to realise ultimately who you really are. Like your own personal calling!
To discover your Sankalpa you must:
• Listen to your heart. Your most inner voice (sravana). Not your thoughts! Way deeper than those. This takes time and a new type of openness to learning about you.
• Welcome all messages that you hear with an open heart, however subtle. Sit with them in reflection and contemplation (manana)
• Respond to the call of action these messages give you (nididhyasana)
It’s Totally Okay Not to have a Clue what Your Sankalpa is!
If all this sounds a bit heavy, try going a bit more superficial and explore that. For instance, if you’re desperate to lose weight, what could be the deeper desire beneath that? Is it just because you want to look better (that’s okay!).. but… have you considered why? What will change if you look better? If it’s because you feel that others will accept you more – then ask - Why do you need that acceptance? Keep digging further and you might well realise that the only person whose opinion that really counts – is you! If you decide that you are enough, then guess what – you are enough. Maybe you’ll come to the conclusion that you wish to treat your body as the temple that it is and so want to put nourishment that will make your body feel its best, in which case you are motivated for an entirely different reason.
When you start to envelope yourself in compassion, non-judgement and acceptance, you stop worrying about the material world and start directing your attention towards more meaningful stuff, the soul food. Choosing to make a statement of your truth in the way you live your life, is to honour your Sankalpa. This is empowering and holds enormous potency to connect to and inspire others.
Don’t forget, your Sankalpa is already right there inside you just waiting for you to unveil it. You just have to be willing to find it.
Mellowburn yoga classes in Guildford and Woking always involve meditation, which allows you to remove anything that happened before the moment or will happen after it. You can just be. Nobody demanding anything of you. Time to explore what arises in that moment and accept everything with no judgement. The more we can be with just ourselves, the more easily we connect to each other.
Already Feel Like You Know Your Sankalpa?
When you realise your purpose, it's time to apply it to your life. Using wisdom (jnana), willpower (iccha) and action (kriya) you intend to live your life lead by that Sankalpa.
By regularly reviewing your behaviour and actions and reinforcing and reminding yourself of your Sankalpa by asking ‘am I living my truth?’, ‘Can I reveal my Sankalpa in my actions?’ and adjusting accordingly, you’re on your way!
It’s okay for this to be a long term project! This life is an ongoing opportunity to practice being your best self. Remember, you are perfect in your imperfections. You are here to learn! Enjoy peeling back the layers that life adds, to get back to your authentic self.
If you got this far, thank you for reading. I will always endeavour to share and inspire you (and me!) with what I feel to be relevant and meaningful. Remember, Yoga should always make you feel better and there is always more to the journey than you think!
See you matside in a mellowburn yoga class soon!
Tuesdays 7pm at Winston Churchill Sports Centre, Woking
Thursdays 6.45pm & 8pm at Stoughton Methodist Church hall, Stoughton Road, Guildford.