A Different Kind of Resolution


I had a great New Year’s day. I attended a yoga class at a studio that I love with an amazing teacher who always brings cool insights to class and reminds me of why I love yoga. There is always something new to learn and I am humbled by how little I really know.

Instead of opening by wishing us all a happy new year, she instead wished us all the space to create. I thought this was so beautiful and empowering. Imagine a world where we all took that opportunity and made it a priority to create.

The end of the year brings about a mood of reflection. We think about the different things that have occurred over the past year. There are happy moments, sad ones, things that we feel good that we have done and probably a long list of things we meant to accomplish but didn’t.

Yoga is a “come as you are” practice. So rather than starting off the new year thinking or wishing that things had been different, perhaps we would benefit by directing some energy into accepting the way things are and being grateful for the lessons we have learned.

This doesn’t mean that we need to let go of our aspirations or intentions to direct the flow of change.

I learned a Sanskrit term in my New Year’s Day yoga class – sankalpa. It means intention. It is like a resolution but it comes from within. Whereas a resolution implies stopping something (such as – I will lose weight or I will cut down on caffeine), sankalpa is an intention that is formed in the mind or heart and is usually part of a spiritual practice.

We spent the New Year’s day class uncovering our sankalpa. Our instructor, Sylvie, led us through poses and pranayama where we focused on using our intuition to find own sankalpa, our intention for the year to come. For example, during the opening meditation, we took a moment to ask ourselves what our sankalpa was and then focused on listening to the answers that arose.

We did this a number of times throughout the class while holding a pose or practicing a breathing technique and then during savasana. To close the class, Sylvie led us through a meditation. Mentally we repeated the intention to ourselves using our name and being specific;  “I Charlotte Bradley am open to courage, strength and compassion.” To seal the intention, we mentally repeated the word “sankalpa” three times.

Deepak Chopra teaches “Sankalpa is the subtlest level of intention at the cusp of choiceless awareness and thought.” When we bring an intention into conscious awareness, we are moving towards the creation or manifestation of that intention.

As we step into 2010, take your next yoga practice to uncover your own sankalpa or internal resolve. And as Sylvie hoped for all of us, I wish you the space to create.

photo credit: Elaine with Grey Cats

0 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Resolution”

  1. Shavinder Singh

    The teacher was right about creation and creating. I have been trying to create something for years now, and have yet not succeeded. The issue is that the inner urge is too subtle and creation somehow needs to have a shape, a form and it seems that this often is what illudes us.

    I happen to like a great piece of wiki software app known as tiddlywiki. And though I have loved it and tinkered with it for more than three years I have yet not been able to put it to some great use so as to benefit people at large. Yes I have done something with it at my own level, but….you know……And a few days ago a senior wished on the group email list that as part of the new year resolution may the group be more productive and to use tiddlywiki’s to produce something rather than just having fun tinkering with it. And he was so right.

    I tell myself I need focus, I need to choose somethings over the other and work on my chosen things. This of course is the concept of ‘Sankalp’. The word sankalp is from Sanskrit but is used in the same form in all (i think) the modern North Indian languages like Hindi (the national lang) and Punjabi(My mother lang), Gujrati, Bengali etc.

    In fact coming to my main point- working on abstract things like yoga, body perfection leading to mind perfection, is *creative* work. It is *progress* in itself. This progress is different from other material progress. A yogi knows that the body he works upon is going to decay after a few decades. And when his body does decay and perish a yogi would not loose his lifetime’s earnings. Because in working on his body he has worked on his mind too. And its the mind which *creates* another body after the current perishes. And thus the work can continue.

    Of course I know I might be sounding pompous 🙂 But I do believe in after life and I do believe that the body is created after the mind. And that working on body is as creative as working on some painting masterpiece but much more difficult and time consuming.

    And you are doing a good job creating a blog, manifesting the abstract inner urge into appropriate form in words and visuals.

  2. Charlotte Bradley


    You bring up lots of interesting ideas here. I agree that working on the body in practices such as yoga is creative work. I think we are directing our energy and changing our physical selves as well as (and perhaps more importantly) our minds. We are creating new ways of seeing things which changes how we will respond in situations.

    It is not that easy to find focus, there are so many interesting and exciting things to pursue. I wish you the best in discovering yours this year.

  3. Hi Charlotte–

    It feels like I haven’t posted in a while 🙂 and I am sLowLy coming back into my groove (promotion, new responsibilities, life…you know.)

    I love the expression…”I wish you space to create”. It is giving and generous and non-invasive. Wow.

    I love how it does not impose something from the outside rather it asks you, the receiver of the phrase, what you want…what shall the creation be?

    Sankalpa was introduced to me by my teacher, my beloved teacher and I practice from time to time. Your timing is perfect as I am reminded that I need to reengage this as my practice…daily, so that I might manifest intention, whatever it is, in my life.


    1. Charlotte Bradley

      Hi Tina – so nice to hear from you! I know what you mean about sporadic posts – mine have been sparse of late as well. New job, new routines, life… I think I am echoing you 😉 That is how it goes. It’s funny, I was telling a colleague (at my new job) about your awesome tattoo. Your ears must have been burning as then you dropped by and left this comment!

      Aren’t we lucky to have such great teachers? It is humbling when I think of how little I really know about yoga but also exciting to realize all there is to learn.

      Best to you and I know you’ll find that groove again (or maybe create a new one)

  4. Dear Charlotte,
    Just stopping in to your blog to say hi and thank you for joining the 28-Day Meditation Challenge at my blog. I appreciate having you there and I hope you will share any yoga expertise with us. Anything that can help all of us be more calm, clear and wise, eh? I have taken yoga off and for nearly 35 years. I have never heard the term Sankalpa. I love it. Thank you…Blessings to you. (Hope the meditating is going well.)

    1. Charlotte Bradley

      Jan, Thanks so much for dropping by. I think your 28-day challenge is such an inspirational way to stay motivated. I had a more regular meditation practice when I was in yoga teacher training but it has become off and on of late. Part of what kept me motivated was being involved with a group of others to talk about our experiences and meditate together when we met once a month for teacher training. You have provided the same kind of thing for me by writing about your experiences and meditation techniques and creating a place for everyone to follow along and explore … Looking forward to seeing it unfold.

      Great post on the meditation police today. The title made me laugh and then think “hmmm I know them..”

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