Happy New Year! Turning the calendar over to January brings a feeling of newness, and a chance for a fresh start. What do you want to create for yourself in 2018? Do you want to open yourself to new opportunities? Improve your mental or physical health? Reinvent your career? Revitalize relationships?
Yoga can help you make the best use of new year energy. Instead of making a typical “New Year’s Resolution,” set a different kind of intention - a sankalpa - that will bring you closer to the New You you want to become. Sankalpa is an intention that comes from the heart.
When you make a sankalpa, you vow to harness the resources within your body, mind, and spirit to work toward a specific goal. Make setting your intention a thoughtful inquiry and know that you have what it takes to reach your goal.
N - Notice your deeper desires. It’s common to set resolutions designed to “correct” a negative aspect of yourself. Instead, ask what you want to experience, feel, or become in the next chapter of your life, and set your intention to realize that desire. “I feel strong and free in my body” may be the sankalpa underneath a typical resolution to “lose ten pounds.”
E - Evolve and unfold. Allow yourself the grace to let your intention unfold over time. Deep transformations don’t happen overnight. Work toward your sankalpa in small steps and practice tapas - mindful discipline - to persevere when your motivation or energy level is low.
W - Watch out for resistance. Once you set an intention to change, expect fear, doubt, and uncertainty to rush in and get in your way. This is the ego doing its job to maintain the status quo. Identify resistance as a sign you are on the edge of growth and use it to fuel your actions.
Create a phrase or short sentence that captures the essence of your intention. State it as an affirmation, such as “I am thriving in my work,” or “Peace is abundant in my relationships.” Make it part of your daily routine.
Y - Yoga practice. Incorporate your sankalpa into your yoga by repeating your intention at the beginning of your asana practice and using it as a mantra during pranayama or meditation.
O - On your mind. Keep your sankalpa in your awareness by posting it where you will see it often - on your bathroom mirror, your phone screen, inside a kitchen cabinet, and any other place that comes into view throughout your day.
U - Under the breath. Repeat your sankalpa when you wake up and when you go to sleep. Make this vow part of your stream of thinking at the beginning and end of the day to seal it into your conscious and subconscious mind.
Living your intention and achieving your sankalpa may feel like you’re traveling a bumpy road. You may get lost along the way and end up on a long, scenic route to the place you want to be. How you handle the setbacks is a practice unto itself.
Use obstacles and difficulties as teachers, and learn from these experiences. Replace criticism and self-loathing with curiosity and compassion. Forgive yourself and start again each new day. Welcome all that comes to you with santosha - contentment with what is - and you will experience unshakable joy on your way to the New You.
The Santosha community is here to welcome you and support you in the new year. Your presence is part of what makes our studio so magical. Here are highlights of what’s happening in the studio in January and beyond from our latest eNews. If you don't receive our eNewsletter in your Inbox and would like to, please sign up: ENEWSLETTER ENROLL
Kirstin Pinit is Santosha’s writer-in-residence. She is an artist, a student of yoga, Ayurveda, and massage therapy, and she is a Yoga Health Coach. Kirstin practices and teaches the habits of yogis - dinacharya. This is the Ayurvedic practice of daily habits that are essential for leading a vibrant, healthy, creative life. Find out about her upcoming courses and collaborations at kirstinpinit.com