• Caroline Young

Ease in to 2017 with Focus: Sankalpa Meditation with audio

sankalpa– Click for meditation.

Please read the next several paragraphs before starting the short meditation.

On New Year’s Day, I taught a New Year’s Day “detox” class. While I love the cleansing feeling of a strong sweat (especially from a yoga practice), I viewed this class from a much deeper perspective than “detoxing” the physical body. And I didn’t talk about resolutions (see below for my reasoning on this).

My wish for this class was to create a safe space for my students to release 2016, regardless of whether it brought more positive memories or more negative memories to their minds… No labeling or judgement. Just Let. Go. I actually asked them to imagine themselves waving goodbye.

And I shared this amazing poem by my girl Danna Faulds with them during pigeon pose, or kapotasana in Sanskrit (a great pose for releasing physically and emotionally).

And my other wish was to help them to ease in to 2017 with a Sankalpa instead of a typical resolution. While Sankalpa actually means resolve in Sanskrit, it is much different, in my opinion. It’s a yogic statement that states a vow to your inner self, to support your highest truth. You can call upon it to remind you of your true nature and your purpose for being here.

San: Connection to the highest truth

Kalpa: Rule to be followed above all other rules; vow.

As I explain in the audio meditation, the Sankalpa is not something we need think long and hard about. It needs to come from the heart, and shouldn’t be too complicated. It also needs to be in the present tense, as a reminder that whatever is required of us to live out the Sankalpa is already inside of us. Confusing? I thought so to. But it is actually about remembering and connecting to our inherent, divine wholeness, and simultaneously doing the work to be our best, truest selves.

I love this quote from this article in Yoga International:“The sankalpa really describes who we are and how we move in the world when we’re in harmony with ourselves.”

Here are a couple of examples of Sankalpas:

I am at ease in my mind and body.

Compassion is my true nature.

I am open to all life’s adventures.

I move joyfully through my life.

Joy is my true nature.

The best time to integrate a Sankalpa is said to be during meditation or Yoga Nidra, when the mind is still. Once its integrated, it should be re-visited again and again, to solidifiy it in to the subconscious mind, and to begin to guide your actions in daily life.

Try my short audio meditation above to help you set your Sankalpa for 2017, regardless of whether or not you already have a resolution in place, and/or read on to hear a little bit more about my take on resolutions.

A few further words on New Year’s

To be honest, I have often regarded New Year’s as just another holiday, another excuse to party or be lazy, or what have you. And this year, as New Year’s started to approach, I started to have those same old thoughts. “Yeah yeah, New Year’s. Cool.”

But then I looked at those thoughts and was like, No…. You know what? This is a bigger deal than you are allowing yourself to believe.

Seriously, this is a chance to let go of old habits or useless thoughts, and to move forward into this life with stronger intentions. That’s powerful stuff! But I reeeeeallly didn’t want to set a New Year’s resolution, or encourage my yoga students to do the same. Sorry if you made a resolution – that’s great. I hope it works for you. But to me, the word resolution has lost its pizazz … probably because it’s a known fact that most people don’t keep them (92 percent).

For example, in 2012, I had returned from an adventure overseas and made the resolution to complete the first draft by the next year. I even posted it as a status on Facebook and got like a zillion likes. While I started the book (it’s stil sitting on my computer), was the first draft completed? Nope. And it’s 5 years later. One of my dreams is to write a book, and maybe one day I’ll finish that one when I can devote more time. Either way, I didn’t fulfill my resolution that year.

To me, making a resolution is telling myself that I must accomplish something specific or attain something in order to be worthy of love (from myself and others) and to be enough. Bullshit. I don’t believe that for one second anymore. I had fallen into that trap at some point over the past few years, up until about a year ago, or maybe even less.

And to be honest, occasionally my mind tries to take me down that road — How much can I possibly fit on my plate to make myself worthy of a wonderful life – of God’s love, of others’ love, and even of my own love? But this way of thinking led me to have panic attacks and to venture pretty far away from my center, and from who I am at my core. No thanks.

The thing about this way of thinking is that, it is all about reaching externally, trying to prove oneself and trying to fill up from the outside, and ignoring what is going on internally. It’s not about working from the inside … and I am a firm believer that we have to do that, no matter how hard it is, in order to live out our purpose and fulfill our hearts’ desires.

At our core, we already are enough. I don’t have to write a book or eat less sugar or run more races to be enough, and to be loved. And neither do you.

What we do have to do is be willing to be honest with ourselves, to look within and let go of the habits, thoughts, or whatever else that may hold us back from living the life God intended for us, and connecting to our true selves. It’s up to us to decide how it is we want to feel in our precious lives – throughout our days, and what it is that our hearts’ desire. And to shift our focus to that, and away from the things, people or circumstances that don’t serve us.

If you choose, create your own Sankalpa. What actions, habits and thoughts will support it and the way you want 2017 to feel like for your life? Write it down. Say it out loud. Put it all out there. And then, keep coming back to it, again and again. Since you are human, you’ll forget, no doubt, but the key is to keep coming back.

For more on how to create a Sankalpa and what it means, visit Yoga International.

With love and light,

Caroline

#mentalhealth #sankalpa #meditation #yoga #detox #intentions #NewYears

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