Starting Your Day with Sankalpa, the Power of Intention

When you first wake in the morning, the seeds are most fertile for creating, setting, and manifesting an intention for your day. Also, your cortisol, the stress hormone, is highest in the morning. So beginning your practice first thing, maybe even before your feet hit the floor or you are fully awake, has the added benefit of regulating not only your mood, but also your neurochemicals.

Sankalpa is the Sanskrit word for intention. San means “to become one with” and kalpa means “time” and “subconscious mind.” In LifeForce Yoga, we use sankalpa as a way to set an intention, to connect with your heart’s deepest desire. Putting an intention or sankalpa into words gives you something to work with—a guide, mantra, or affirmation, available to you at any time. Often, our inner critics can get pretty loud, and our thoughts can be negative and hurtful. Having a sankalpa available to you allows you to catch those negative thoughts, then work on replacing them with positive and loving ones.

Focus on making the sankalpa positive in nature. For example, you can turn “I will not be stressed” into “Peace is available to me” or “Serenity flows through me now.” If you are having a difficult time coming up with a statement, you can focus on a word, like confidence, relaxation, or wisdom.

If you are ready to incorporate this powerful and ancient practice into your work, here’s how to start.

Morning Sankalpa Practice

As you awaken, before your eyes open (or as they slowly begin to open), in that gauzy moment between sleep and wakefulness, allow yourself to come into presence.

Allow your sankalpa, your heart’s desire, to arise.

Repeat it silently three times and, if you like, out loud three times.

Bask in the energy, power, and presence of your practice.

You may want to place your hand over your heart, reminding yourself you are here in the moment.

Form a light smile at the lips, sending a signal to the central nervous system that all is well.

Mindfully, slowly, with grace and intention, make the transition into your day.

Remember, at any moment you can repeat your sankalpa to yourself to reconnect with your positive intention and continue the work of leading with your light. 

Find out about upcoming programs with Alyce E. Wellons at Kripalu.

Alyce E. Wellons, LCSW, has been a psychotherapist in private practice in Atlanta for more than 18 years, working with individuals and couples in short- and long-term psychotherapy.

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