Setting a Spiritual Intention (Sankalpa)

Sankalpa (spiritual intention) is the foundation for sustained growth and change in your life. It emerges from the heart’s prayer. Spiritual intention connects your yoga practice to your daily life and inspires your daily practice. However, uncovering your sankalpa is not always easy. It may be difficult to hear the heart speak when it feels constricted, or life is weighing you down. For this reason, in LifeForce Yoga we use practices to invite sankalpa. In the following video, LifeForce Yoga Director, Rose Kress, will lead you through a practice to uncover your heart’s desire that will lead to your sankalpa.

The meaning of the word sankapla is intention. In yoga and LifeForce Yoga, exists the belief that you are already whole. You may not feel that way, but deep down, beneath the layers of constriction, life, stories, and roles you are a whole being. Your sankalpa is the heart sharing this wholeness with you and it is the pathway to remembering your wholeness. This is why inviting sankalpa is such an important part of the LifeForce Yoga practice.

Once you have found your intention, you create an affirming statement that becomes your sankalpa or clear intention. Your sankalpa is a positive statement and is meant to be repeated often. Here are some guidelines:

  • Positive – focus on what you would like to manifest or bring into your life, rather than what you would like to eliminate
  • Present Tense – as though it was already happening in your life
  • Short – if your intention is too long, you are likely to forget parts of it
  • Simple – stay away from complicated intentions, you don’t need more work

An example:

Let’s say you would like to be less stressed out. What is the opposite of stressed out, or what would it look like if you were less stressed? A couple of examples might be: peaceful, easeful, relaxed, calm, tranquil, etc. Now bring it into the present moment, following our guidelines. For instance, “I am peaceful,” or “Relaxation breathes through me now,” or as Amy Weintraub says, “I am open and available to receive tranquility.”

The last piece, that is really important, is to anchor your intention. This can be done by cultivating visualization, an image, or a feeling in the body. Not everyone feels comfortable with creating visual images, so using a feeling in the body is best, otherwise known as a “felt sense.” It may be a visualization of yourself achieving your intention; down to the minutest detail (what you are wearing, where you are). It may be an image that represents your intention. It could also be the feeling in the body when your intention is achieved.

Using the example above, you might imagine yourself resting peacefully in a relaxation pose in a yoga class. It might be a feeling of taking very deep breaths. It might be an image of your favorite beach. Whatever you choose, make sure that if feels authentic to you.

Practice to Invite Your Intention

Practice bellows breath to clear the space, shiva lingam mudra to awaken your sankalpa, and mantra with a hand gesture to plant your intention on the altar of the heart.

About the Author

Rose Kress

Rose Kress ERYT-500, C-IAYT, YACEP, Owner/Director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, and author of Awakening Your Inner Radiance with LifeForce Yoga. She directs retreats and training programs on using LifeForce Yoga to manage your mood.

2 thoughts on “Setting a Spiritual Intention (Sankalpa)”

  1. Rachel says:

    Rose, thank you for this beautiful practice!!! I received the most wonderful gift – a sankulpa that I know is from my heart as it completely surprised me, but fits so perfectly for what I want this next year to be about.

    I am SO grateful to you for posting and sharing. Namaste and Happy New Year!!

    1. rosekress says:

      Dear Rachel – Thank you for your kind words and so happy that you have found what you need! Blessings on a wonderful new year. -Rose

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