Sankalpa: Sacred Intention

Sometimes we want to change something about ourselves and it seems impossible: we see how we are stuck in patterns of behaviour, family dynamics that repeat over and over again.
Yoga gives us a simple method to rewrite our neural programming and it’s called sankalpa, which means ‘sacred intention.’

Sankalpa uses the power of our awareness, our ability to create our future with our imagination and our intention. And it needs only a few moments…

Right now think of something that you want to bring into your life. It’s best to think of a positive quality, so if for example, you want to stop being impatient then choose patience as your quality.

Once you’ve chosen, find an image or a feeling that represents the quality or experience that you want to bring in to your life. If there isn’t anything that comes to mind readily, then just work with the word you’ve chosen.
What you are going to do is to focus your awareness on your intention for a few moments. I find it helpful sometimes to light a candle as it helps to focus my butterfly mind! Alternatively you can simply bring together your thumb and middle finger in Shuni Mudra.

As you focus on the quality or experience you long for, open to your internal response to having that come into your life and appreciate the feeling it brings (gratitude, happiness, relief, whatever the feeling is). This takes literally a few moments, the time it takes to light a candle and appreciate the light it brings.

It’s incredibly simple, but what brings potency is repetition:

a daily practice of sankalpa can change your life!


I have been using this practice for some time now and it is encouraging to track the changes in my life. One example was my longing for community: A connection with my local community was not something that I had growing up; and it was hard to even imagine what it might be like. I found an object that symbolised what I longed for – the warmth and companionship and the sense of being accepted in a group; but I had literally no idea how to get there….

Well I did get there, with my own unique trajectory, which involved setting up some local groups with a focus on vegetable growing – something I never dreamed I would be doing… By focusing on the goal rather than the route, we allow the best solution to naturally emerge, rather than getting side-tracked by the mind with it’s many messages of doom and limitation.

This practice can equally be used for health goals, financial goals and so on – the sky’s the limit…..

What will you try?

One thing you may notice after having set your intention is that anything that is blocking its realisation will come into view. These blocks may be related to beliefs about ourselves or how we should or should not behave. Once we have identified them, they can be addressed with the support of trauma therapies if that is needed.