Yoga coach Manish Poddar educates readers on Sankalpa (resolution) based on his learnings from the Bihar School of Yoga, incorporating the teachings of Swami Sivananda, Sri Swami Satyananda, and adapted by Swami Niranjanananda.
Nowadays a new year’s resolution list is nothing but a “to-do list” for the first week of January. For the first few days our motivations are high and soaring but as the days go down the calendar, so do our spirits. As time passes, we tend to forget our new year’s resolution and invite the bitter feeling of despondence in our hearts. The Sankalpa or resolution which we make during the New Year period generally reflects our state of mind, our aspirations, and ambitions. And if we observe our resolutions clearly, they all point to the new year goals that are the most innate desire of humans- happiness.
All our hopes- to become better at an activity, learn something new, or remove the bad habits we have developed. These all are different currencies for buying the ultimate dream. The dream is to be happy and satisfied in life. Therefore, rather than complicating and rearranging these desires every year, we shall be clear in new year’s goals We should make efforts for seeing the good in everything we see, listening to melodies in what we shall hear, and cherishing the good in everything we feel. We must fill our plates with what joy life has to offer, and this is not easy
The world is transient. And anything that changes, brings pain to us. These feelings of sadness and disappointment are eternal and shall forever plague us. We must realise that these dark feelings cannot simply be shooed away. They need to be accepted and systematically deprioritised.
So how do we deprioritize the feelings of sadness and reap the fruits of joy? One answer that yoga provides is through Sankalpa or resolution.
Through Sankalpa, the main aim is to condition a person’s mind and consequently their thoughts, behavior, and attitudes. In this process, we embed a positive aim in our subconscious which results in the mind becoming more open, creative, and positive.
Habits take birth in the subconscious mind. Often there is a struggle to clear the conscious mind of the influences of the subconscious mind, which is simply impossible.
Sankalpa acts at the subconscious level. It is a positive affirmation that you say again and again and again to yourself in a heightened state of sensitivity and receptivity, such as during yoga Nidra, during the practice of pratyahara and Dharana techniques. What must also be noted here is that every being carries within themselves the capability of change, all that is needed, is for us to become aware of that fact.
In the coming year, in this time of new beginnings, you must make the promise to yourself to be happy. Regardless of the circumstances, you find yourself in. Make a continuous, persistent, consistent effort to improve, to overcome the negatives. And make efforts to minuses of life; to become positive, to transcend the negativity in life.
There are 5 key actions which you can adopt in the new year:
Sincerity in practice: to think and live yoga, to make yoga a part of our lifestyle. You should consider it as eating and sleeping are a part. Yoga through Sankalpa is a way of life, not just a practice to be done for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening, and then forgotten. It must be adopted in the daily routine.
Discipline of the inner being: to observe our emotional, mental, rational and irrational actions, reactions and interactions, thereby developing self-discipline. Only then can we experience real freedom.
Inner strength: to achieve self-discipline, inner strength is necessary. We cannot attain the fulfilment of yoga in our life if we are loose and undisciplined within ourselves, if we follow the sway of the mind. A regulated life is necessary to discipline and to focus on the internal being.
Purity of intention: the intention, the goal of life, has to be pure and clear. Then only can we progress towards it. If our intention is not pure, all of our efforts in spiritual life will be futile.
To reach for the fulfillment of yoga, our lifestyle must be conducive to our mental, emotional and spiritual growth. These are the five points that can help us in the coming year in order to experience the wholeness and fulfillment of yoga and to realize the ultimate purpose of our life.
Sri Swamiji said, “You see, life has been like that. The world has been like that. Nobody can change it. Pleasure will be there and pain will be there. Suffering will be there and joy will be there. Victory will be there and defeat will be there. You have to just accept.” At the height of it he said, “You love your moments of happiness and pleasure. You enjoy success. Why don’t you enjoy failures? Embrace the state of sorrow and suffering and failures.”
The most appropriate principle for ourselves has been mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita (2:48) as-
“Samatvam yoga uchyate”, – Yoga is finding balance and equilibrium within oneself. This equilibrium is a balance between what is attainable and what is not attainable, between what can be perfected and what cannot be perfected, between what gives happiness and what gives unhappiness. It is the balance between the two polarities of life and it is the first stepping stone into spiritual life.
Believe in yourself:
Know that you have the strength, the ability, the courage and the will to transform yourself. Have faith in yourself. You have the strength, the courage and the ability to make a barren piece of ground into a flowering garden. It becomes easy and simple if you believe in yourself and have will and sincerity.
Make the best use of every moment of this new year. Unfold all latent faculties. Here is a chance to begin life anew, to grow and evolve, and become a superhuman or a dynamic yogi. Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each day and of course try to be happy in each moment. And sing along,
“The time to be happy is now, and the place to be happy is here. And the way to be happy is to make someone happy, and bring a little heaven right here”.