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Sankalpa, setting an intention


Sankalpa is a Sanskrit term in yogic philosophy.

Sankalpa is an intention formed by the heart and mind - a vow, determination or desire. It is a tool that helps you harness your will, to focus and to harmonise the mind and body.

Kalpa: a vow or promise which should be the rule to be followed above any other.

San: an association with the highest validity.

Sankalpa is a vow and a commitment we make as a foundation to support who we are, to honour our principles and values. Call upon Sankalpa to reinforce your true beliefs and guide the choices you make through life.

What is an intention?

An intention is defined as a purpose, it is something that you want and plan to do, something for which effort is being made.

It can be seen as a good habit you want to get into. It can be choosing something that you want to amplify or cultivate (on or off the mat).

Intentions are the desires that we set into motion through what we think, the words we speak and the actions we take.

How do you set an intention?

  1. Take a few moments to notice how you are feeling right now. Take three deep breaths and listen to your heart. How do you feel? You are the only person who can answer that question for yourself.

  2. Now ask yourself; What do you want? But moreover, what do you need? This could be anything your heart desires right now. You may need to: slow down your breath, be more aware of your breath, be more focused, have more self-awareness, more movement in the body, calm your mind or slow down… This is your intention to set. Remember there is no right or wrong answer or feeling. It is simply what you feel and what you need right now in this moment.

  3. Set the intention as a word or a short sentence. Use positive intentions only If you would like to work on your stress. An example would be: I am calm, I feel calm, I am peaceful…. Refrain from using negative words or thoughts such as ‘I am not stressed’.

  4. Stay in the present tense. We are thinking of a quality that we want to embody right now.

Keep in mind that an intention is not so much a goal that you can tick off as you go along, it is cultivating a way of thinking, feeling and being.

On and off the mat

When a yoga teacher asks you to set an intention at the beginning of class, walk through the steps in your mind and focus in on your needs right now.

Don’t worry about what you choose, an intention can be something you will use on the mat for that particular class only. However, if it feels good, the intention can also be something you take with you off the mat into your daily life.

When you commit to a clear intention it has the power to keep you grounded and inspire you. It is a point of focus, a safe space for you to come back to.

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