Yoga with Melissa #353 Back to School Yoga: Sankalpa/Intention

by Melissa West on

Intention in Yoga


intention-yogaMichael Lee, founder of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, translates intention as “that which we hold within.” Michael Lee says, “What we hold within us has a good chance of becoming our reality because we are holding it at a subconscious level.” I love this definition of intention because it lets go of doing and opens us to being. That which we hold within us, allows us to remember and connect to a way of being. Intention is an inward journey to our deepest aspiration and truest longing.

With intention we ask ourselves, why am I practicing yoga today?

Why am I here?

Why did I roll out my yoga mat today and show up?

What did I hope to receive by doing this?

There is always intention behind every action – it is important that we bring awareness to our motivations when we practice our yoga. We have an opportunity to connect to deep seated intentions each time we practice – to connect to something deeper within ourselves. We can ask ourselves, how is my yoga practice going to help me better understand myself?

Being clear on the reason behind why we are on our yoga mat helps us to connect with our most inspired Self. Intention allows us to align our personal will with our deeper needs.

Rod Stryker translates kalpa as vow or the rule to be followed above all other rules. He translates san as our connection with our highest truth. He translates sankalpa as our connection to our highest truth. When we think about creating a sankalpa we are committing to supporting our highest truth. We create sankalpa in our yoga practice to guide our choices and to bring our true nature to the foreground.

There is a difference between sankalpa/intention and goal setting. The difference is our why. Robert Butera says we should keep asking why until we reach a virtue: love, compassion, peace, joy, service, balance, faith, trust, hope, acceptance, forgiveness, patience, devotion. For example, wanting more abundance in your life may actually be a desire for more balance and peace in your life due to an overly packed schedule.

Your sankalpa will change over time. You may have an intention for your yoga practice, for the short term and a life long intention that shifts and changes as you shift and change. What was true for you five years ago will probably not be true for you now.

Sally Kempton suggests that you sit quietly following your breath, until you feel a sense of connection to Presence. Say to yourself, “May my deeper Self, the teacher inside me, tell me what is the right thing to do.”

Your intention will be clear, stated in the affirmative, and might be about creating, sustaining, nurturing, transforming or reflecting. For example, this autumn I had a sankalpa, “I am stronger for longer” I have a long term intention, “I place my awakening at the center of my life” Currently I am feeling the need to change my seasonal intention to turn inward and nurture myself more so something new is coming to the surface. Each time I come to my meditation practice, I open to my body and I listen to what my body is telling me, what I need on any given day.

Props Needed: chair or wall for balance, folded blanket,

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Guided Relaxation, Reclined Side Bend or Supta Ardha Chandrasana, Keyhole Stretch or Figure Four, Balasana or Child’s Pose, Cat Pose or Marjaryasana, Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana, Tadasana or Mountain Pose, Warrior One or Virabhadrasana One, Warrior Three or Virabhadrasana Three, Dancer Pose or Natarajasana, Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold, Locust Pose or Salabhasana, Seated Twist or Parivrtta Sukhasana, Ardha Gomukhasana or Half Cow’s Face Forward Fold, Savasana or Corpse Pose

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

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Sankalpa Series: Members Click Here
This is a five-day series designed to help you set your intentions for the year of 2013, both small and large. The series begins with a meditation to help you set your intention for your yoga practice. The second meditation is designed to help you set your intention for your day. The following two days are designed to help you start thinking about setting bigger and longer term intentions. On Wednesday you will have the opportunity to take a value and strengths questionnaire. Thursday is a yoga class that brings forward the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to help you connect with your dharma and true essence in order to form a long-term sankalpa. The series finishes with a short lecture on cautions and questions to help you on your way to forming your intentions.

Lecture, Yoga Nidra and Follow Up Meditation to Set Your Intention: Members Click Here

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Weekly Yoga with Melissa #353 Photos of Yoga Pose

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