On January 1, 2014 from 12-3:00 p.m. we had a wonderful community gathering at Abhyaasa yoga studio. We are thankful for our teachers, our students and the community of yogis. The event concluded with a delicious vegetarian potluck!
We talked about Sankalpa as the combination of San and Kalpa.
San being the inner truth that rests within your core.
Kalpa being the summative central thought or idea.
Sankalpa essentially being one's vow or commitment to support one's highest truth.
As can be easily seen, the Sankalpa does not change as we move from one year to the next and just does not depend on our ego desires. As we develop within our life and our yoga practice the Sankalpa becomes clearer and clearer and takes on a life of its own. This Sankalpa is always there deep inside of us, waiting patiently. It is simply ignored by our monkey mind and ego and is passed over for some ridiculous and worldly promise of permanency.
The Sankalpa acts as the light of the sun to unfold the petals of the flower of life. Sankalpa is but one ingredient and there are several others that need to be respected as well. Just as a flower blooms with exposure to the light of the sun, the roots of the flower and plant simultaneously need water, soil, micronutrients, air etc. in order to bloom. The conditions must be correct for the flower to bloom. Without the correct conditions, there is simply stagnation. And no growth can occur in an environment of stagnation.
What are the other ingredients that are necessary for the realization of your true nature? The inner force or Shakti is needed. Shakti is the power of being and becoming. Just as air is the medium for the expression of sound, so too does Shakti act as the medium for our own expression.
The three facets of Shakti are as follow:
Iccha Shakti: the subtle force of thought, desire and will.
Jnana Shakti: The force of Grace that reveals Self-knowledge. This is experienced selflessly and intuitively.
Kriya Shakti: The subtle force that puts motion into action.
With regard to Sankalpa, start with the premise that you already are what you need to be to fulfill your life's purpose. Sankalpa does not come from an intellectual mind, but rather informs the intellectual mind by its presence of the direction that one 'needs' to take to fulfill one’s life.
Again, Sankalpa is already and always there deep within you, unchanged. Our job is to quiet the monkey mind so that the Sankalpa can come to the surface and be uncovered/ discovered.
In the New Year's class and meditation that followed, we did a Yoga Nidra practice. The purpose of the Yoga Nidra was to help in uncovering your Sankalpa. With the above-mentioned ingredients and a means of uncovering the Sankalpa, what else is needed to help?
Sravana- A willingness to hear and listen to the message of one's heartfelt desire, and the courage to provide a clear, calm and tranquil mind so that you can heed the innermost call. Meditation (dhyana) helps to settle the mind.
Manana- Welcoming the messenger within. Sitting with this messenger, feeling it, deeply reflecting (pratyahara-sense withdrawal and dharana-concentration) upon it and letting it reflect upon you.
Nididhyasana-And finally, a willingness to do what the heartfelt desire, innermost call requires of you.
Once the Sankalpa is discovered/uncovered we must prepare the other ingredients and practice! We have provided the audio clip of the Yoga Nidra exercise to assist you in your practice. (This will be provided as soon as we work out some technical difficulties.)
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