I love the new page feeling of a crisp New Year.  New possibilities. Starting clean.

This year I shall actually be away over the New Year period, heading up north to attend a special NY Yoga retreat .. time near the ocean, silence, sunshine, gentle yoga, swimming and mind detoxing!

So, I have started early .. gathering, pondering, clearing and planning for the New Year;   personally and for my business.

This dreaming forward is very intoxicating for me .. I have journals full of clean new pages with intentions and thoughts that I have meditated and manifested into life!

From my meditation practice, I know that each moment we have the opportunity to choose our thoughts, our actions, our path forward .. we return to the breath in our meditation once or a hundred times to learn and practice this.

So, I wanted to share some of the profound New Year rituals that I have collected over the years .. so that you may find something that resonates with you.

Many years ago, reading an article by Andrea Kowalski at Yoga Journal, shifted my focus from setting intentions for the new year, rather than resolutions .. “As motivating as goals, more forgiving than resolutions, and more conscious than hopes, they help you envision your highest potential – and align your daily decisions. Take action today to jot down several of your best intentions for the coming year”.

And then from The Happiness Project, I read about personal commandments .. short and succinct statements to reflect how we wish to live our lives.  Here are some of my personal commandments from 2009 (most of which still resonate with me):

· Do it now
· Remember being 11 yo
· Be present in this one perfect moment
· Don’t rehearse unhappiness or problems
· Don’t fill the gaps
· Explore more

In 2011, I moved closer to key word intentions or themes for the year ahead, and for that year my word was ABUNDANCE.. a worthy and wise word that asked me to remember that there is always much to be grateful for, more than enough in the world for us all .. and to joyfully seek abundance in all areas of my life.

And then in 2015 I completed Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map which brought three key words into my view for that year .. Abundance, Spaciousness & Courage.

This year I wanted to share a little of the concept of SANKALPA with you, as it encompasses or articulates what we are really doing at this time of year .. when we are drawn to reflect on our dreams and desires and set a vision for the journey forward.

Sankalpa (Sanskrit: संकल्प) means conception or idea or notion formed in the heart or mind, solemn vow or determination to perform, desire, definite intention, volition or will.

In the yoga tradition before meditation or yoga practice, or even at the start of your day, you can make a resolve (or resolution) called a Sankalpa.  This is a brief statement that we repeat to create the life we are meant to embrace, and when our mind is calm and quiet, our sankalpa impresses on our subconscious .. and so we plant a seed in our soul.

A Sankalpa is a statement that comes from a place of no-ego, not from the intellectual mind .. and meditating to that inner place of deep stillness, can help us connect with our deepest heartfelt desires, and channel the divine energy within.  I would encourage you to embrace this practice within your meditation: set aside some sacred time, light a candle, bring items that are meaningful to you and your desired life, a pen and journal, a shawl for comfort ..

*Start by spending some time in meditation.  Whatever your personal practice, allow yourself time to simply be present and to quieten the mind, body and soul.
*When you have a sense of settled awareness, without undue distraction, you might silent ask yourself one of the following (whichever one calls to you):

What do I really want?

What is my heartfelt desire?

What do I wish to bring into my life?

*Listen to whatever arises for you. Listen for the highest truth for you.
*Know that your heartfelt desire already exists within you; there is no need to ‘do’ anything but listen
*If nothing arrives, enjoy the stillness and silence. Wait. Listen. Trust.
*If you hear something that appears to be very ego driven “I want a flashy new car” .. see if you can uncover what is underneath that desire.  Can you imagine how life might be if you did have that new car, and what feeling it might represent to you? freedom? self love? what is the heart pointing you toward?
*Your sankalpa is a statement (not a prayer or wish) so if it does comes to you in meditation, pause to reflect on how you might state it, in the present tense .. “I am in total health and a positive force to all those I meet”
*Whether the answer arrives or not on this occasion, always return to your meditation for a few moments to integrate your experience.  If you did hear your personal sankalpa then you might repeat it a few times, so the roots can be planted for th year ahead.

I like to get a little creative with my sankalpa .. using a tool like Canva or coloured pencils/paint, to solidify my vow on paper which I then place on my pinboard or beside my bed (to see first thing in the morning).

And do remember that it is human to stumble with keeping our intentions and resolve .. and that a gentle and pliable heart is one that notices the discord and missteps but continues to refocus and retry again (and again).

“By definition, a sankalpa should honour the deeper meaning of our life.  A sankalpa speaks to the larger arc of our lives, our dharma – our overriding purpose for being here” Rod Stryker

But .. The Most Important BIT

Write it down.

It is claimed that by writing down your goals you increase the chances that you’ll accomplish them by 100%.

Then place your sankalpa where you can see it every day. The best way to keep your intentions fresh in your awareness, is to keep the list where you are going to see/read it every day. I have pasted the list by my bedside so that each morning I will see it first thing …  habituating it into my daily rhythm. CLICK HERE or on the Sankalpa image to download a copy.

As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed,
so is your destiny.
The Upanishads