I've been working through a few mudras (hand gestures) that add significance to meditation practices. This week I decided to showcase Sankalpa Mudra. This was the first mudra to really pique my interest in that I felt the hand placement create a dramatic shift in my awareness. I first practiced this mudra with my teacher, Sianna Sherman, in my second level teacher training more than 15 years ago. I believe that it was passed on to her by our philosophy teacher, Douglas Brooks, and may have it's roots in Tantric Philosophy. As usual, I am not too particular about the physical roots of things because I believe they all come from the same spiritual space. I believe it's up to us to explore the unique practices of yoga, honor to the best of our ability the teachers who practiced and evolved the techniques, and ultimately to fine tune the practices to meet our individual needs.
Sankalpa means resolve. It's an amped up version of intention setting. When practicing sankalpa the idea is to connect to your most essential self in order to realize what it is you most need and want to manifest in your experience of life. This practice asks you to sit quietly in order to connect deep within. With awareness of your highest aim, you cross your right arm over your heart, bringing the right hand to rest in the left. Sankalpa is a gesture of remembrance and of resolve. It is a seal of intent. An empowering aspect of a life in alignment, is that we each get to decide how we will show up to greet each day.
If you feel disconnected from your heart's deepest intentions, you might choose to do this heart clearing meditation/mudra practice before setting a clear intention with the Sankalpa Mudra. Today's heart clearing practice uses a non-traditional kriya (repetitive body/energy flow). Hold your hands in front of your heart with Ganesha Mudra (click here for more details). Take a moment to hold in your mind all (or some;-) of the blocks that prevent you from feeling free and clear in your inner vision. Maybe you are angry, or afraid. Maybe you've been hurt or feel stuck. Allow yourself a moment to hold your blocks with as much acceptance and even love and you can. Take a deep breath in and then with your exhale stretch your arms out wide. Envision letting go of all the energy that blocks your heart and mind at this time. Imagine a great internal clearing. While we can not change all of our outer circumstances we can release the energy that shuts us down. Breathe in with courage to stand true in your life at this time. As you begin to feel more calm and clear, set the seal for the energy that you want to hold and give back to life with Sankalpa Mudra. Namaste ~ Kate