Discovering Your Spiritual Intention (Sankalpa)

How is 2019 going? What about your New Year’s Resolutions? If you feel like you are faltering or old habits have taken over, perhaps it is time for a refocus that includes setting a spiritual intention.

It is easier to see the infinite possibilities ahead of us when we begin a new year, or month, or even week. In reality, every moment is an opportunity to start something new, or to take a different path. But where do we start? A Spiritual Intention can support personal growth and spiritual fulfillment. This post will help you define that intention so that it can inspire you.

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to define spiritual fulfillment. We are spiritual beings living in human form, often distracted by shiny objects. We get caught up in striving towards things, belongings, and money. Society, advertising, and habit, tells us that ease and completion comes from owning stuff. After a time, we find that the things we own are not bringing us the ease, peace, or love, that we have been seeking. We can buy more stuff or we can try something different. This is when we turn our attention to the spirit, the soul, or whatever you might call that part of you that is more than this body. Spiritual Fulfillment is being aware and living from a place of deep connection to your wholeness. Your Spiritual Intention is the light that guides you to and reminds you that you are already whole.

Spiritual Experience

Meditation to Uncover Your Spiritual Intention

Enjoy this short guided meditation to help you discover and uncover your Spiritual Intention, known in yoga as sankalpa.

Download the Discovering Your Spiritual Intention Script

Continuing the discovery of the spiritual intention, let’s explore some questions that may shine light on what your spiritual intention is. As you answer these self-inquiry questions, do so without thinking about the answer. You can create a list, write in complete sentences, draw pictures, whatever works for you. If you are able, you may wish to write with your non-dominant hand. Use your journal, or download a free Spiritual Intention Worksheet.

  • This is what expands me:
  • When I feel most like myself, I am engaged in these activities:
  • This is what wholeness looks and feels like to me:
  • I feel that my purpose is:
  • This is what my spirit/heart is longing for:

Now that you have finished your writing, go back over your list. Circle all the items that are the juiciest, the most meaningful, or that seem to jump of the page. Because a spiritual intention is about you and your personal growth, circle the things that are all about you. From here, what is most important to you on this list?

Formulating Your Spiritual Intention

All things start as a seed. Your writing exercise gave you many seeds to plant. Now it is for you to decide which seed you want to nourish and grow. The Spiritual Intention, or sankalpa, is the seed that when nourished guides you through life, that helps you make important decisions, and that reminds you of what is most important to you. Let’s turn this seed into an affirmation, mantra or prayer.

Here are some guidelines to support you:

  1. Make sure the affirmation is short enough that you can remember it.
  2. Present tense – this is something that you are bringing into the now.
  3. Positive tense – this is a seed that you are growing, something that you want to increase.
  4. Include I-statements that make your affirmation more real to you, like “I am,” or “I have,” or “I welcome,” or “­­­breathes through me now.”
  5. Use your intuition, you know what works best for you.

Once you have formulated your intention, write it down. Now close your eyes and breathe as you mentally repeat your intention three times. You may find that your spirit, or intuition, requires a subtle change in the language. Say it out loud to yourself three times. If you have someone that supports you, share your intention with this person and have them say it aloud to you three times. Hearing your intention from someone else can strengthen it at a deep level. You are welcome to post it in the comment section of the blog.


In 2016, I led a 20-minute practice on setting your spiritual intention. The video from that post, includes 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.

In the Yogic tradition, this sankalpa arises from the heart as a gift and remains unchanging. It is said that when the space is clear enough, we can hear the sankalpa. I bring this us as permission for those who have a spiritual intention that never changes and for those who did not find a spiritual intention during this practice. This is a journey and each person’s journey is different. If you are in a place of questioning or doubt, affirm a seed that supports you on the path to discovering your Spiritual Intention. As a suggestion, you might even do this practice weekly.

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.

5 thoughts on “Discovering Your Spiritual Intention (Sankalpa)”

  1. Cheri Boggs says:

    I am going to be happy and smile every day.

    1. Rose Kress says:

      That is beautiful!

  2. Johna Lindsay says:

    Spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment fill every cell in my body, giving light and unconditional love to my heart, my Creator and the universe!

  3. Gemma says:

    How do you complete the intentions worksheet if you feel overwhelmed by life and have nothing to give? I can’t even answer the questions because I feel like theres no point any more. I have nothing going for me now. It’s all well and good to ask someone to write down what expands them etc but I just have no answer anymore.

    1. Rose Kress says:

      Gemma, this is such an important question and thank you for asking it. I know that when I feel overwhelmed with life, I ask for help. Feeling hopeless is such a horrible place to be, it is the absence of light. Reaching out to friends, family, and professionals is what I have done in the past. As for the the worksheet, don’t worry about it. Let it go. Focus on the practices instead. They may shed a little light in time.

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our Research Newsletter


What People Say

“Yoga Skills for Therapists is the ideal resource for those who want to bring yoga practices into psychotherapy or healthcare. Weintraub, a leader in the field of yoga therapy, offers evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, improving mood, and relieving suffering. Helpful clinical insights and case examples emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.” — Kelly McGonigal, PhD, author, Yoga for Pain Relief, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Yoga Therapy
“I have found the pranayama (breathing practices) especially easy to introduce in a clinical setting. Some people have benefited quickly in unexpected and transformative ways.” — Liz Brenner, LICSW, LFYP, Watertown, MA
“Giving my clients a strategy and permission to quiet their minds and rebalance the sympathetic nervous system has been very beneficial to them and in our work together.” — Sue Dilsworth, PhD, RYT 200, LFYP, Allendale, MI
“I gained perspective of who I am in the world and this will change my life significantly.” — Mary Ford, artist, Southport, CT
“I have found the LFYP training to be incredibly useful in giving people specific tools to use in maintaining physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance, and further opening their intuitive abilities.” — Nancy Windheart, RYT-200, LFYP, Reiki Master, Animal communication teacher, Prescott, AZ
I absolutely love this stuff! I have been using it with my clients and I am just finding it to be so incredibly helpful. There seriously something for everything. Although I am not as skilled as I hope to be someday, even at my level of training I’m finding that I am beginning to figure out what to do. It just blows my mind! - Christine Brudnicki, MS, LPC
“I came hoping to learn to move past some of the obstacles blocking my creativity. Over the course of this weekend, I feel I’ve gained a certain measure of faith in myself and in my ability to change. I also had some realizations that I believe will be very helpful to me. I feel encouraged. Both the content and presentation of this program were so well-thought out that I can’t think of any way to improve it.” — Andrea Gollin, writer & editor, Miami, FL
“I utilize the LFY techniques in both a class room setting and one-on-one environment. The skills have infused my teachings with compassion, mindfulness, and awareness.” — Kat Larsen, CYT, LFYP
“My life is already changed! I will use the tools I learned in my own practice and in my work. I feel safe and seen.” — Susan Andrea Weiner, MA, teacher/expressive arts facilitator, El Cerrito, CA.
“I have been reminded that I am not on this path alone, that others are sharing the journey that sometimes seems so difficult. I have also been reminded of the importance of daily practice and I will do that. The whole program has been an incredible experience for me. Thank you!” — Lorraine Plauth, retired teacher, Voorheesville, NY
“This program changed my life in a significant way. It helped me connect with the spirit which is something you can’t get from psychotherapy and medication.” – G. W., artist, Pittsburgh, PA
“My personal practice will change, as well as my yoga classes. I have a better understanding of yoga!” — Andrea Gattuso, RYT, Yoga Teacher, Hackettstown, N.J.
“I learned lots of ways to reduce the anxiety and depression of my patients and myself.” – Aviva Sinvany-Nubel, PhD, APN, CNSC, RN, psychotherapist, Bridgewater, N.J.
“This workshop has changed so much — my self-image and my life. My own heart’s desire is 100% clear. I gained tools to help myself and others to live life fully.” — Marcia Siegel, Yoga teacher, therapist, Carlsbad, CA.
“I integrate strategies like mantra tones and pranayama, but above all I invite myself and those I teach to cultivate svadhyaya, to practice self-observation without judgment.” — Barbara Sherman, RYT 200, LFYP, Tucson, AZ
“I have gained a softer heart, more receptive mind, and tools to enrich both personal and professional aspects of my life.” – Regina Trailweaver, LICSW, clinical social worker, Hancock, VT.
“My patients can now have the same effects as many medications without having to actually take medication!” — Deborah Lubetkin, PSY.D, LFYP, West Caldwell, NJ
“A client who returned said, "When I came before, you helped me understand and get where I wanted to go. Now you show me yoga practices I use to help myself understand and get where I want to go.” — Sherry Rubin, LCSW, BCD, LFYP, Downingtown, PA
“I feel profoundly transformed, both physically and emotionally. The connection between mind, body and spirit was clearly evident to me, but revealed to me through this workshop as an integrally vital link to overall health.” — Nadine Richardson, program manager at rehab agency, Monroe, CT
“This workshop helped me rededicate my energies and begin to work through some of the blocks I’ve felt creatively.” — Steve Mark, college professor, New Haven, CT
“I gained tools for working with my own depression and with my clients’ depressions.” — Robert Sgona, LCSW, RYT, psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, Camden, ME.
“I began a fantasy during the meditation exercise... almost as if I’d been there. It’s now an on-going work of fiction.” — Serian Strauss, Tanzania
“I have gained an incredible opening and clearing of old obstructions. I hope to return to my life and fill this opening with things I love to do and that give me joy!” — Lisa Shine, administrative assistant, Ballston Lake, NY
“Words do not do justice to all that I learned. This workshop changed my life!” — Jen Nolan, Teacher, Cortland, NY
Scroll to Top