Just like every sunrise brings the promise of a new beginning, we can mirror this daily rebirth through the diligent practice of positivity affirmations. But not all positivity affirmations are the same. You might have noticed that if you’ve tried searching for “positive affirmations” online.
So, are you tired of yet another list of empty quotes that promise to improve your life just by reciting some “magic words”? Then it’s time to take your positive affirmations to the next level with a Sankalpa.
These powerful spiritual resolutions, when internalized with genuine belief and intention, have the ability to transform self-limiting thoughts and show you the way to personal growth. They act as your personal sunrise, illuminating the corners of your consciousness. They can awaken your dormant potential and foster a nurturing environment for self-development.
Embodying the essence of yoga’s spiritual discipline, affirmations are not merely about sparking fleeting moments of positivity. Instead, they represent a commitment to continual self-growth and spiritual evolution.
In this exploration, we’ll take the road less traveled, moving beyond the realm of commonplace affirmations. For this, we’ll venture into yoga’s profound interpretation of positivity affirmations – the Sankalpa, a resolve steeped in spiritual significance.
Let’s start from the beginning.
What is an affirmation?
Before we embark on this journey to Sankalpas, let’s have a look at the definition of affirmation. At their core, affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome self-sabotaging thoughts.
More in detail, affirmations are designed to alter negative thought patterns and foster a desired, positive mindset. They are typically oriented toward self-love, confidence, health, success, empowerment (which should not be mistaken with your ego!), and so on.
Even in their ordinary conception, positive affirmations are more than just feel-good quotes or motivational catchphrases. They have a profound psychological effect that can rewire our brain’s thought patterns, instilling a sense of positivity and self-dignity.
When thoughtfully crafted and genuinely uttered, these transformative assertions can effect profound changes in our mental landscape.
Affirmations for self-love
Stretching beyond mere inspirational quotes, affirmations for self-love are particularly potent. They encourage us to treat ourselves with kindness, patience, and respect, challenging ingrained self-doubts or feelings of inadequacy.
Do you know the feeling of not being able to fully love the person that you are? Of fighting your emotions? Of judging yourself and your body image? Far from a worship of our ego, self-love is about fully appreciating yourself exactly as you are, accepting your body, your needs, and your emotions.
As we embrace self-love through daily affirmations, we not only boost our (healthy, not inflated!) self-esteem but also strengthen our capacity to spread love and positivity into the world around us. Affirmations, thus, provide the seeds for cultivating an inner garden of peace and self-worth. Plus, they teach us to approach others with the same level of love and understanding.
If you struggle to give yourself some deserved love, practice Yoga for Self Love with Sophie. This Online Studio series will help you change the way you look at yourself through yoga, compassion, and mindfulness. As a bonus, this series includes a Self Love Meditation that you can practice daily to treat your body and emotions with love and kindness.
Positive affirmations in yoga
Unlike the Western approach to affirmations, where the focus may often lie in changing the external world, the discipline of yoga uses positive affirmations to facilitate internal shifts. These shifts are about aligning with your true self, your highest aspirations, and your deepest values.
More in detail, in yoga, positivity affirmations transcend conventional connotations, transforming into spiritual resolutions, known as Sankalpas. These kinds of powerful intentions represent profound commitments that guide us to reunite with our innermost Selves.
They do not seek to change who we are, but to unveil our true nature, peeling away layers of illusions that shroud our inner light. As we repeat these positivity affirmations, they seep into our subconscious, subtly steering us towards spiritual awakening, self-growth, and inner peace.
When we adopt a Sankalpa, we set a powerful intention, a beacon of light guiding our journey. They are seeds of transformation, planted within the soil of our consciousness, set to blossom into profound shifts in our spiritual evolution.
What is a Sankalpa
To better understand the role of affirmations in yoga, we must first clarify the concept of Sankalpa. A Sanskrit word derived from ‘Kalpa’ meaning vow or commitment, and ‘San’ implying a connection with a higher truth, a Sankalpa is a resolution made from the heart.
A Sankalpa, therefore, is more than just a positive affirmation. It is a resolution made in a state of deep connection with our spiritual essence, harmonizing our intent with the universal consciousness. It’s a solemn vow that reflects our nature and aligns our intentions with the cosmos.
A Sankalpa surpasses the egocentric idea of personal goals or willpower. It’s not something you want to achieve such as “I want to be happy” or “I want to be successful”. Instead, it unveils a state that is part of our deepest essence and, ultimately, connects to the universal will, such as “Peace is my nature”.
Sankalpa vs Vikalpa
While a Sankalpa represents a deeply held commitment or resolution, rooted in truth and our higher self, a Vikalpa, as defined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, symbolizes ungrounded imagination or fantasy.
Essentially, a Vikalpa refers to the mind’s tendency to create narratives or scenarios devoid of factual basis. Patanjali refers to Vikalpas as one of the five Vrittis – thought fluctuations, modifications, or patterns that can arise in the mind.
The Yoga Sutras suggest that our minds are often in a state of constant activity. They are filled with numerous thoughts and feelings, which can disturb our inner peace and clarity. Another example of a Vritti is Viparyaya, which refers to misconception or incorrect understanding, based on false or misleading perception.
In relation to Sankalpa, the term Vikalpa doesn’t represent a type of resolution. However, it can highlight the importance of ensuring our Sankalpa is grounded in our genuine self and innermost aspiration, rather than being based on fanciful or superficial desires.
Sankalpa in Yoga Nidra
The practice of Yoga Nidra, often referred to as ‘yogic sleep’, offers a fertile space for adopting and internalizing a Sankalpa. This deeply meditative state serves as a bridge to our subconscious, enabling us to sow the seeds of our Sankalpa where they can take root and flourish.
The unique journey of Yoga Nidra involves a conscious descent into a deep sleep while maintaining a thread of awareness. After the initial relaxation – typically, a body scan – practitioners set to choose a Sankalpa. Then, they repeat it in their mind three times, before proceeding to the core of the practice. For a step-by-step guide to this technique, we refer you to our post about Yoga Nidra.
For the purposes of this article, we will simply note that as the mind becomes increasingly receptive in this state, our Sankalpa can be effectively introduced. Repeated with intent, this affirmation can bring about significant transformation, shaping our thoughts and actions.
But, how to choose and formulate a Sankalpa?
How to create your positive affirmations with a Sankalpa
Creating your positivity affirmations using a Sankalpa involves introspection, authenticity, and a deep understanding of our innermost desires. It is not merely an intellectual exercise but a profound journey into your heart. As we have seen above, this isn’t about molding external realities but aligning to our true Self.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to assist you on this inward journey.
- Quiet your mind: Before you start, ensure your mind is calm and centered. You might find it helpful to engage in a short meditation or Pranayama exercise.
- Connect with your heart’s desire: Begin by delving into your core, tapping into your deep-seated aspirations. Ask yourself, “What do I truly desire?”, “What is the change I wish to embody?”, or “What does my highest self look like?”. Remember, your Sankalpa should resonate with your nature and values. This contemplation should lead you toward your genuine intent.
- Frame your Sankalpa: Once you have identified your heart’s desire, phrase it as a positive, present-tense statement. Keep it simple, concise, and impactful. This affirmation should radiate positivity and reflect the transformation you aspire to see within yourself. For instance, instead of saying, “I want to be more patient,” your Sankalpa might be, “I am patience embodied.”
- Pronounce your Sankalpa internally: Repetition is key. Regularly repeat your Sankalpa, with intention, especially during your yoga and meditation practices. By doing so, you’ll strengthen your resolve, channel your energies effectively, and allow your Sankalpa to permeate your subconscious, fostering spiritual growth and transformation.
Connecting to your higher Self and unveiling your true nature can be a daunting task. It involves quieting the mind and its different layers such as emotions and thoughts. And you need to shift the attention to your body in order to reach the core.
If you need help with that, our Online Studio series Embodiment & Presence can point you in the right direction through slow movements and breath. By developing presence, acceptance of what is, and letting go, this series will guide you to embody who you truly are.
How to integrate positive affirmations in your yoga practice
Weaving your Sankalpa into your daily yoga practice can profoundly amplify its power, aligning your physical movements with your deepest aspirations.
At the beginning of a yoga session, start by setting the tone for your practice with your Sankalpa. As you sit or lay your mat, take a moment to center yourself, inviting stillness to envelop you. Follow the steps above to create and formulate your Sankalpa in your mind, allowing its resonance to set the rhythm for your practice.
Integrate your Sankalpa into your Asanas. As you flow through each posture, envision your Sankalpa flowing with you, creating a synergy between your physical movement and spiritual intent. With each movement, the calm, steady rhythm of your breath can become a chant of your Sankalpa. This way, it will amplify its presence within your consciousness.
Finally, during Savasana, allow your Sankalpa to shine brightly in the quiet expanse of your mind. This integration of your Sankalpa into your yoga routine can imbue every pose with a deeper spiritual significance. It will strengthen your resolve for the day ahead and accelerate your spiritual growth.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing practice, you can also engage in a guided Yoga Nidra session. At One Yoga, we host regular Yoga Nidra classes. You can simply drop in if you are in Koh Phangan, or book our Sadhana retreat which includes much more.
Remember, the power of a Sankalpa comes from repetition and belief. So, believe in your positivity affirmations and repeat them daily. Integrate it in any yoga session or during your quiet moments of contemplation. Over time, you will start to witness the transformative power of your Sankalpa.
Sankalpa and Mudras
Mudras can play a significant role in deepening the connection with our Sankalpa. These gestures or subtle attitudes serve as powerful tools that can channel our energy and focus, enabling us to more fully resonate with our Sankalpa.
If you are wondering what mudras are, read our blog post Introduction to Mudras’ Meanings and Benefits which offers an easy-to-understand guide for beginners.
In relation to positivity affirmations, the practice of Sankalpa Mudra during seated meditation helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, fostering an inner alliance between our mind, body, and spirit.
For this mudra, the practitioner places their left hand, palm open to the sky, upon the right thigh. Over this, the right hand is gently laid, palm facing downward. This grounding yet receptive gesture encapsulates the balance necessary for actualizing change.
With this physical alignment established, the practitioner then softly resonates with their personal Sankalpa, allowing its profound message to echo within their being, bringing them closer to their inner truth and desired transformation.
In other words, with mudras we create a tangible representation of our resolution, deepening our commitment and enhancing our receptivity to change. So, by incorporating Mudras into our practice, we can significantly deepen the connection with our Sankalpa, amplifying its power.
In conclusion, positivity affirmations, intended as Sankalpas, hold transformative potential within the discipline of yoga. Rather than fleeting positive statements, they represent profound resolutions, deeply woven and interconnected with our consciousness. They serve as a bridge between our outer practices and innermost, heartfelt aspirations, uniting us with our authentic selves.
Adopting a Sankalpa is not about modifying our external circumstances. It’s about fostering a fruitful inner transformation, nurturing seeds of self-growth and spiritual evolution. Whether used within the tranquil depths of Yoga Nidra or harmoniously integrated into your yoga practice, Sankalpas empower us to navigate our spiritual journey with intention and direction.
Sankalpas remind us of our boundless potential, our ability to cultivate peace, self-love, and spiritual growth from within. As we step forward on this path, these affirmations become powerful catalysts for spiritual awakening and personal transformation.