Sankalpa is a specific intention or goal, a one-pointed resolve as explained by Master Paalu. A sankalpa speaks to the larger arc of our lives, our dharma—our overriding purpose for being here. This topic got me thinking about my purpose in life – what I want to do, what my sankalpa is, no matter how small or big, to get to where I want to get to.

To live our soul’s mission, we need to reach milestones. Setting specific goals can help to connect our conscious choices with our unconscious. To do this, we can ask ourselves what things need to happen for us to progress on our path. Once we have realized this, we can then form a personal Sankalpa that describes what we need to do and inform our subconscious where we need to direct our energy to make progress on our goals.

Over time, our actions will start to align with our intentions, moving towards our goal or purpose. By formulating our Sankalpa and focusing on bringing it to fruition, one step at a time, we can reach our true Dharma, and realize our true potential.

What if we do not absolutely know what our true purpose is right now? I would think it does not really matter, because life is a base, and there is a lot of potential. It could go anywhere, but it could only go if the energy flows. The energy cannot be stuck in the mind and be stagnant; it must flow. We should simply start where we are – even a desire that might be interpreted as simple or shallow can lead us to the heart’s desire. It might arise out of conditioning, but if we trust the practice and keep following the heart’s desire, it will take us to the essence of our being.

The best thing to me about Sankalpa is that we can live it day by day – and we only ever get to live one moment at a time, NOW! Sankalpa can be used before meditation, yoga, before and after a nights sleep, basically when we are in a deeply relaxed state. By repeating it daily, we also allow it to become a part of our being.

I find applying the technique of Sankalpa to my asana practice deeply satisfying, and I liken this to setting an intention before my practice. When we begin to understand what we are seeking from our practice, we can see how to direct energies and actions in order to get there. It also allows us to stay focused during our practice. In acknowledgment of our blocks and weaknesses in certain asanas, recognizing that through every practice we are taking a small step forward towards a bigger goal, and remaining kind to ourselves in the process, we are propelled closer to our goal. Intentions and sankalpas aren’t uttered once and then forgotten about. In yoga, during challenging poses, we can call forth our intention and allow it to power us through the posture. Just like in yoga, a sankalpa can be applied to power you through the challenges of life.