Welcoming in the New Year - Sankalpa
It’s time to leave 2021 behind and move forward, full of health, vitality, and a positive outlook. To get you ready to take on the new year glowing with health, happiness and calm self-assurance, we spoke with Tanja Mickwitz - London based Rasa Yoga teacher, author of "Theming Skills for Yoga Teachers: Tools to Inspire Creative and Connected Classes" (2021) and Yogacampus graduate - about intention setting in Yogic Philosophy, why we mark the New Year as a point of reflection, and some journal prompts to help you find an aligned intention for 2022:
Setting New Year’s intentions and yoga philosophy
The word in Sanskrit which best aligns with intention is Sankalpa. 'San' refers to a connection with the highest truth and 'kalpa' means ‘vow’. So using yogic philosophy we can dive a little deeper than surface-level intentions. We use the practices to find an intention that aligns with our dharma, our highest calling in this life. Ultimately it will be hard to hold a resolve unless it has a deeper meaning and actually contributes to fulfillment on a soul level, rather than just surface-level attainments. There is also the understanding that our unique dharma is something that contributes to the greater whole, it isn’t something that purely serves our self-centred desires.
Why New Year?
New Year is of course just a made-up date in the calendar and in fact different cultures celebrate New Year at different times for different reasons. However, the calendar New Year comes within weeks of Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere which of course marks the turning point of when we once again begin to welcome the lighter, longer days (albeit very slowly!). So we can see the symbolic seeding of intentions into the darkness, as though we are planting them into the dark, fertile soil. Then we tend to them and allow them to grow just as the light begins to increase and nature slowly awakens once again as the sunlight returns.
Working with the elements supports us
The elements are a way to feel our connection to the greater whole. All indigenous cultures work with the elements in some way, even if they view them in a variety of ways. In yogic teachings, we have the panchamahabhutas, ‘the five great elements', of earth, water, fire, air, and space/ether. These also connect to the first five chakras or main energy centres in the body. The elements exist both on a tangible and subtle level which helps us connect to our own being through the various layers, too. As we feel into the elements we can appreciate where we might have imbalance and how we can cultivate it. Through the elements, we can also find the qualities we need to support our intentions. Do we need to ground into it more, are we looking for flow, perhaps we need to fire it up or breathe life into it?
Supporting intentions beyond the New Year
A daily practice offers us the opportunity to move into each day in an intentional way. This does not mean we need to spend an hour on the mat or meditation cushion (though of course, this would be wonderful). It can simply mean coming to sit for a minute, perhaps bringing the hands into a mudra, taking a few conscious breaths, and reminding ourselves of our Sankalpa. On the days you have time you might extend the practice into an asana practice or longer meditation, but it’s important to remember that consistency is key, so even just a short moment of aligning ourselves daily will make a big difference.
Another powerful way to keep anchoring into our intentions is using yoga nidra, ‘yogic sleep’ or deep relaxation practices. You can find many resources of yoga nidra free online and often they will give an opportunity to specifically work with intentions.
Crafting your intention
Here are a few journalling prompts which might help you find an aligned intention for 2022. Once you have written something around each question, read it over and feel into the themes which emerge. Then you can play with writing out an intention. Remember you want to always set your sankalpa in present tense.; “I am… I have…” etc. And the shorter and more concise you can keep it, the more powerful it will be.
- How am I of service to my family/friends/community?
- What are my unique gifts?
- When do I feel most in flow and connected to my innermost creativity?
- What do I most wish to feel in 2022?
- What am I yearning to dream into being?
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🎊New Years Day Workshops🎊
Join Tanja Mickwitz from 3 pm - 6 pm in Notting Hill to bring in 2022 with a soulful embodied yoga ritual of mantra, mudra, meditation, contemplation, soulful vinyasa, deep relaxation, and intention setting. We will call on the five elements to empower us through the journey. Book Here.
Diana Holland will also offer a New Years Day workshop from 11:30 am - 2 pm to guide you through gentle flowing, uplifting yoga sequences to help gently loosen up your joints, stretch your body, and refresh your mind, followed by easy mindful, floor-based pilates to gently strengthen, stabilise and align. You will be led through a beautiful seated Taoist meditation to bring out your inner smile, stimulating joy and wellbeing all around you and will finish the workshop with a blissful 40-minute healing light HypnoNidra. Book Here.