Past the Mayan apocalypse that never happened, congratulations yogis and yoginis -- we made it into 2013! The ushering of a new year always comes the routine of the proverbial New Year’s Resolutions. Now that we are just about done with the first month of the year, statistics have shown that most resolutions have dissolved into thin air at around this time. How are you guys doing? The “2000-something will be my year“ spiel is something I’m guilty of. In other years, it’s “Why set a resolution?” talk you’ll hear from me, too! Whatever stance I assume to begin the year with, I always seem to end it exactly how I started – with my resolutions as just resolutions, and the supposed “Year of My Life” kind of ordinary. Negative habits resurface after a while, and before I knew it, I would land back to square one. It made me think.
Resolutions are always set in a negative context. They are usually about what we should NOT do, should NOT eat, should NOT think, and the list goes on. There is a lot of effort we put into what we want to CHANGE. As much as that works for a while, it’s not as sustainable as we think. We fuel whatever we give our attention to and if it is put into taking away from ourselves, it’s impossible to achieve something by simply muscling our way towards what we can’t clearly see ourselves doing.
I read through my yoga notebook and came across a word that made me realize what would change this pattern I can’t seem to break: Sankalpa. This Sanskrit word literally is defined as “intention” - directing our energy towards a goal we have chosen and surrendering attachment to the fruits of our efforts. We do it a lot in our asana (posture) practice and usually without much thought. Practicing Sankalpa is to embody a more positive quality into our lives; it is being instead of just wanting.
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Change happens when you claim it. When you take control over the decisions you make and the way you shape your life because the truth is, quoting Will Lau of Jivamukti yoga, "The world you live in comes FROM you not AT you". It's easy to fall into the victim complex and make all the excuses to not go through something that challenges what we feel we are capable of and might have the tendency to bruise our egos. Change comes with difficulty though. I used to be a whiner. I used to fold whenever things got hard. Which is probably why my resolutions have never worked before! What yoga has taught me through the years is to take the good in with the bad, take a deep breath and approach these difficulties with a sense of receptiveness and acceptance because that is what I have at that very moment.
So this year, I am starting what I would like to call The Sankalpa Project. I am throwing away the tired New Year’s Resolutions and will make an effort to truly exude the things I intend to achieve. In 2013, I will BE more firm with and bound to the decisions I make. There it is, I claimed it and it is going to happen. What is your sankalpa?
If our lives are shaped by the choices we make and change comes from within, we all need to allow our sankalpa to be true extensions of who we are. It is easier to stick to whatever you start if you know exactly why you’re doing it and if that vision is absolute, our goals become easier to reach. The Universe conspires to give us what we work for if we open ourselves up to it.
Here we go 2013! It is going to be an amazing year. (I'm claiming that too.)
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