Lose weight. Maintain a regular workout schedule. Eat healthier. Quit smoking. Get organized. Spend less, save more. Spend more time with family and less behind the computer or your desk. Turn off electronic devices at dinner. Eat dinner together. Start a business. Grow a business. Finish school. Go back to school.
Whatever it may be, you vow to be more intentional about recognizing & putting forth the best version of yourself. This is your sankalpa. It’s the Sanskrit term that represents the deeply held ideals we have for ourselves or the steps it will take to reach them.
Sometimes your sankalpa is consciously known and held closely to your heart appearing only when you allow this unique energy to show through. And sometimes it is recently uncovered and realized through other decisions you have made simply being your true and authentic self or because of others who have encouraged you along the way to uncover that genuine self. Either way your sankalpa is much like a New Year’s resolution. It’s a commitment to follow through with listening to your inner voice—perhaps the one you have silenced for a long time.
At its core, it is who you are.
I don’t typically make more than one New Year’s resolution because I know that the lifespan of resolutions rarely lasts through February. If I choose to make one, I aim to set an attainable goal that I can most likely have “infrequent success” with over the year and on into the rest of my life in order to essentially enhance my awareness and become more intentional. For some reason this year I have set my sights high and am looking to bring to light the next 4 realities of who I am for my family and myself.
Take more photos of my child(ren) with me.
I realized as I was preparing our Christmas letter this year and again soon after when a friend of mine passed away that we don’t have a lot of pictures of Huck & me (or even of him and my husband or of our family for that matter). They are primarily of Huck by himself.
Some of the pictures I like seeing the most in my family’s archives are the old ones of my grandmothers with their kids. My friend did a beautiful job of intentionally seeing that she and her close friends were in photographs together with their kids at nearly every event or activity they held or attended. Seeing her pictures reminded me how much I appreciated these real life moments that are spent nurturing our children and families.
Parent rather than react to situations.
When life is in full swing and the “busyness” that happens pulls us away from the present moment it’s easy to react to situations rather than understand and teach. I catch myself doing this with Huck especially when I’m trying to prepare meals and he’s underfoot wanting to “help” or simply be held. This most often results in him sitting on the counter using imaginative play to cook right along with me. But there are many times that he begins to throw a tantrum or become extra clingy and I don’t pay attention to the reason or use it as an opportunity to help him understand his feelings. So the idea of using a more present-minded parenting approach is one I hope I’ll be able to implement better especially as we approach a time in Huck’s life of many transitions—potty training, toddler bed, new sibling, moving bedrooms, etc.
Acknowledge my husband more intentionally on a daily basis.
As in any relationship when the newness wears off we find ourselves moving through the motions and not giving the attention to the other party that they still appreciate and most likely very much need. I know I am guilty of this even in the small way of not giving my husband a kiss and a hug when he returns from work or when I see him for the first time each day after I’ve been at work. But the thing is, and I’ve realized this because of the way I feel when I don’t receive those same acknowledgements from him, those small things aren’t really small things. They are what keep relationships strong and communication alive. These are the things I wouldn’t have thought about eliminating in my relationship when I first met and started dating my husband. So why have they become so insignificant now? Yes, our lives have changed and we’ve added different elements to it, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about him in a negative way, so why should my behaviors suggest that? I can certainly commit to doing 5 things each day that reflect this.
Live with the intent to be present and fully enjoy experiences rather than worrying about the future.
I am a worrier by nature; thus, why I practice yoga. But as you can see from my other resolutions, I’m choosing to focus more intention on strengthening the bonds within my family that are going to ultimately support me better as a person and make me a stronger, more capable individual. That means that ultimately I need to allow myself the gift of seeing things for how they are and trusting the plan that is in place for me. Too often I let my “to-do” list control how much attention I give to whatever it is I am tending to. This takes away from the full enjoyment that I could be experiencing. Housework can wait and I can schedule my time effectively to complete work outside of the studio when I don’t have Huck, but my husband and family are the constant that are going to help me thrive and in the end nourish my spirit and soul.
Even if I don’t stick with any of these, I will have gained some heightened awareness and can continue to try. After all, those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals, no matter what they are, than those who do not make resolutions.
So what is your sankalpa, or resolution, that you intend to commit or recommit to this year? Yoga creates a heightened awareness of the energies in your body so that you can fully realize what’s truly in your heart—who you really are or want to be. It allows you to open your mind to the idea that your sankalpa is possible and give you the vitality needed to achieve it. It’s not attainable over night or possibly even in 1 year, but giving yourself a lifetime to practice being who you want to be will indeed make an impact on those around you.