This year has been the year of fabulous yoga training for me. In January I went to Tucson for the Level I training in Amy Weintraub’s LifeForce Yoga which specializes in yoga for managing anxiety and depression. The workshop was held at a Catholic retreat center high up on a mountain with a fabulous view of Tucson. We saw the sun rise every morning as we chanted the Gayatri mantra and on the last night were blessed with the rising of the full moon in all her luminous glory.
Even though I’m an island girl, the deserts of the Southwest are magical to me, and in Tucson the desert is dotted with majestic Saguaro cactuses, which at 6ft tall are over 100 years old! Suffice it to say the whole experience was transformative. It was a great opportunity to “get away” and be somewhere else – to slow the pace of life and have an opportunity to be in silence with myself when I wanted, but also to be in joyful communion with others.
. A sankalpa is an intention. You can create an intention for your class, for your day, for your stage of life. You come into this life with a sankalpa – your life purpose. Your sankalpa is essentially what you want to manifest. But most often, when we are asked what we want, we respond by highlighting we don’t want! For example: “I want to not be so stressed,” or “I want to stop being so disorganized.” We tend to focus on what we don’t want, rather than clarifying what it is we want to manifest. In a way, it can be scary to imagine what you do want – what if you don’t believe you deserve it? Or what if the current circumstances of your life don’t seem conducive to your dream manifesting itself? Some of us were taught not to hope for too much, so we don’t end up disappointed. Kriyanandaji, the head of the Temple of Kriya Yoga, often repeats the phrase: Aham Brahmasmi. He translates this to mean: “I am the creative principle.” In other words, I have the power to create my life. If you have the power to create your life, then why not direct your energies toward what you want, rather than what you don’t want?
So, what do you want? Amy recommends that you bring your sankalpa into the present: “Peace flows through me now.” I’ve spent a lot of my life being tired and focusing on how I don’t want to be tired anymore. So instead I created the sankalpa: “Good health and vitality flow through me now.” Guess what? When I say it I feel better, clearer, more energized, and a smile comes to my face! Of course just stating an intention starts the energy flowing, but you must follow intention with action to manifest your heart’s desire. It is also beneficial to courageously, mindfully and gently excavate the underlying subconscious beliefs that might be sabotaging your best efforts.
and he mentioned another term that I wasn’t familiar with until recently: vikapla. Rod described sankalpa as the intention linked to your heart – that which you want, your reason for being – and vikalpa as that belief or desire which separates you from your purpose. Whichever one of these is strongest determines your destiny. A lack of fulfillment in life, Rod taught, is based on not living your purpose. And if you’re not living your purpose, it might mean that your vikalpa is stronger than your sankalpa in terms of your desire for it to manifest.
I think we all get glimpses of our vikalpa. You might feel yourself recoil when presented with a fabulous opportunity and then notice yourself coming up with reasons why it’s not the right thing or why you can’t do it. Or you might start to clarify your sankalpa and find that your mind comes up with all kinds of reasons why it can’t happen. Mindfulness helps us to notice these moments and look at them clearly, examining our deeper motivations, rather than running away. What is manifesting in your life right now? What might be the underlying belief or desire that has brought these circumstances into being? (Rod Stryker has a book about these teachings coming out in a few months. If you read it before I do, let me know what you think…)
. Maybe its time to really get clear. What do I want and do I dare to dream that the desire of my heart could become the life of my dreams? I’ve seen plenty of evidence so far that your entire life can shift based on the strength of your desire. If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be a yoga instructor, energy worker and therapist I would have laughed. I was a committed database manager with a love of logic, data and computers. I promise you that life can change in a heartbeat. Aham brahmasmi – you are the creative principle. The first step to putting that power to work is to get clear on what you want.
If you embark on this exploration, I’d love to hear about your sankalpa!