Honor Your Samkalpa: Intention Setting For The New Year


Every year we take another wild journey around the sun. I have come to the conclusion, that if I don’t consciously try and “map” this journey out it can start to take a life of its own—good or bad. As we all know, life is what we choose to make it, and every new year is another chance to craft it into something special.

When you sit down this month to plot your course for next year, consider using this strategy...

1. Identify your Samkalpa

Samkalpa (Sanskrit: संकल्प)

Sam:  Connection with the highest truth; your heart

Kalpa: the rule to be followed above all other rules; time

A Samkalpa is one of the most practical tools of the ancient yogic tradition. It is an internal compass that gives your life meaning, direction and purpose. Without it, you may experience the feeling of being lost.

The word Samkalpa can be translated to “heartfelt desire.” It becomes an overarching theme for your life, a personal vow.

If you are pondering what this word means for you, I recommend getting quiet. The task of identifying your Samkalpa requires getting into alignment with your core being. When you slow down, get still and sincerely listen, you will feel your Sampkalpa start to bubble up. It will become a clear knowingness, that cannot be denied, and will be the driving force behind all that you do.

A new years intention that I often hear is, “I want to get into shape.” This is a great intention! But, it may fall by the wayside, if you don’t ask yourself the deeper question of “why.”  

When you ponder the reason behind your intention, you will discover your Samkalpa. Using the example of, “Wanting to get into shape,” a Sampkalpa may be a vow to be happier, more radiant or have more energy to play with your kids.

I like to think of my Samkapla as my co-pilot for traveling each year. I remind myself several times a day because the reality is, that change and unforeseen interruptions will happen. So no matter what is brewing, my Samkalpa will help me stay aligned, strong and resilient.

Write down and state your Samkalpa out loud, matter-of-factly, like you are living it now! Feel it in the body as if it is true and real already.

For example, “I am radiant!”

2.  Reflect upon your Samkalpa in three categories

  1. Personal

  2. Professional

  3. Social/Family

Explore the following inquiries in all three categories of your life, in relation to your Samkalpa.

What is going well?

What is not going well?

What do I want more of?

What do I want less of?

What do I want to experience?

How do I want to live?

Who would I like to be?

This reflection process reveals insights that will allow you to craft and plan your upcoming journey.

3.  Plan Time to PLAN

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  —Benjamin Franklin

In order to steer 2019 in the right direction you need to create time for planning. I schedule a series of days, at the end of each quarter, for planning out the quarter ahead. During these sessions I revisit the original journey I mapped out at the beginning of the year, along with any new future opportunities that may have manifested along the way.

In addition, I check in daily and weekly to review what was initiated in my quarterly planning sessions to stay on track.  

4. Choose a companion word

You can help cultivate your character with a “companion word”.  Last year my companion word was “courage.” I chose that word as a reminder to help me trust my intuitive hits, no matter how bizarre they were. It was a good lesson for me that helped me turn my intuition into a trusted source. I wrote the word in the front my journal, so that I would see it every day and not forget it.

What is your companion word for 2019?

5. Align your intentions with an ancient mantra

There are many auspicious mantras that help channel and direct universal energy. For example, the ancient mantra Namah Shivaya, as taught to me by my teacher, is called the “Panchakshari Mantra.” It is known as the 5 syllable mantra—each syllable representing one of the five elements: space, air, water, fire and earth. Chanting this mantra constitutes its universal oneness. It calms the mind, brings spiritual insight and knowledge, enhances your perception and instills hope and faith.

Practice chanting an ancient mantra like, Namah Shivaya as you move forth on your new journey.


Did I mention that change and unforeseen interruptions will happen? The material world from which we operate is constantly changing. That means, that the outside world will knock us off course eventually.

Find your super power of "starting again.”  Meditate, remember your Sampkalpa, adjust your plan as necessary, stay true to your companion word, chant mantra and repeat.

Have faith in your Sampkalpa. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Rest when you need to and practice self-love. Remember, no one else can do it the way you can.   

How will you plan your next journey around the sun?

A Yoga Unplugged collaboration - written by Jennifer Reuter, edited by Sarah Burchard