Sankalpa – Root Intention

Happy Monday my human friends!

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My sankalpa icon: fire to represent the wildness, an upward arrow to show I am always growing, in a circle which means I am cyclical and never ending, and the lotus flower to remember my femininity (which gets lost from time to time).  The fire reaches outside of the circle because I am unabashed to reach outside the confines of my comfort zone. ❤ 

I have now been back from my immersion training in Portland for two weeks, and I’m still re-integrating back into life. I am changed (for the better – and if you’ve come to my classes, you’ve likely seen the difference), and still digesting a lot of the material. In addition, I’m continuing to study on my own… I have so many books that I’ve purchased and there’s so much more to dive into, and I’m eager for all of the knowledge, but I know it will come in time.

Which is funny, because day 1 in Portland we were supposed to say one word that we will bring to the training, and my word was: patience.

Patience has never been my strong suit.

Anyway, as I continue to try to bring patience with my learning into my life (and into my business… my facebook friends are aware of my recent rant about not knowing how to integrate and differentiate “Yoga for Humans” from “Amy Rader” and how conscious I am about labeling myself and others), I am reminded of an exercise we did early on in the training.

That exercise is of defining your sankalpa, or your root intention.

Many times in yoga classes, you are asked to set an intention for the day or the practice. A sankalpa, however, is the ROOT intention. The intention beneath all intentions. Summed up: if you could define your life’s purpose in two to five words, what would those words be?

What are you trying to cultivate – in your life, in your work, in your relationships, in your physical body, in your spiritual self?

When you’re crafting your own sankalpa, keep this in mind:

  • two to five words, maximum
  • use positive language, not negative language (ie “Be the Change,” not “Stop Being Stagnant”)
  • something that bridges all parts of your life

Your sankalpa will be something that sticks with you and guides your decisions for however long it needs to manifest in your life. It might be a month, it might be a year, or it might be several years.

It’s quite a big task to accomplish, and in my creation of my sankalpa, I went back and forth between several different ideas – and finally I ended up choosing the first idea I had (which always seems to be the one that sticks, right?).

My sankalpa is “Be WILD and UNABASHED.”

Despite the fact that I basically pour my soul into this blog, I actually consider myself shy. I was very shy growing up, and unless put in a place of designated leadership (like a yoga teacher), I tend to be quiet and sink into the background of group conversations.

My life has been a very slow unfolding of this.

My yoga practice has gradually shown me that it’s okay to have wild, uninhibited emotions. My yoga teaching has gradually shown me that the more I am willing to put myself out there and risk embarrassment, the deeper connection I have with my students. This blog has taught me that the more I speak about my personal experience, the more people reach out and appreciate my honesty.

And yet I still consider myself to be reserved. I have so much wild, creative energy in me that I trap down in the name of society. I look to others for approval, a lot. I end up throwing away what want in the name of service to others, and I end up feeling overworked, underpaid, and like I’m being taken advantage of – even if it was at my suggestion.

My sankalpa is the beginning of this turning around.

Be WILD and UNABASHED is me giving permission to myself to just be who I am. And to be unashamed about it.

Step one is in owning the meaning of “Yoga for Humans.” I like humor. And I like being flawed. And I like teachers who admit to their flaws. And Yoga for Humans aims to show that yogis aren’t perfect creatures – they’re human. And they fart in class sometimes. And they fall.

Which doesn’t mean that they’re not spiritual. It means they accept who they are. It means we come as we are, practice, and work to accept ourselves as we work to grow.

And me. I am human. And I am not perfect, or stagnant. I am ever changing and ever growing, as all humans are. And I am perfect in my imperfection.

Last night I owned my sankalpa in making a decision: Keith has a very fancy holiday party for his work every December, and I’m always worrying about what to wear. I have a beautiful white lace dress that has sat in my closet for over two years unworn. I wanted to wear it to the party, but I was worried about wearing white after labor day – because isn’t that a thing? I asked Keith’s opinion, and he told me not to wear it.

I scoured the internet, looking for some kind of approval. I found it, but it wasn’t enough. I thought about asking my facebook friends for their opinion – and then I remembered my sankalpa.


Who cares if some people think wearing white is not an option? I LIKE the dress. I think it’s pretty. And if I want to wear it, DAMN IT I WILL WEAR IT. Unabashedly. Wildly. Like the human goddess I am.

So this is me, embracing my sankalpa. In my business, in my personal life, in my relationships. I am Amy and I will no longer be embarrassed to do the things I like. Sometimes that’s things that are sparkly as shit. And sometimes it’s the grungiest outfit ever. And isn’t that lovely.

Shiva and Shakti. Heaven and earth. East and West. Human and divine. We are all one.

Yoga. Union. The experience of humanity.



(PS If you craft your own sankalpa – let me know what it is! Let’s go on this journey together. In our experience, we also had to create an icon for it – thus the photo – and a bodily movement. Let me see what you create! Happy sankalpa-ing!)


3 thoughts on “Sankalpa – Root Intention

  1. Love this! I think most of instinctively know what our sankulpa is- but we spend much of our lives trying to ignore it or change it (and us) into something different or bigger or better somehow. I love your sankulpa, it made me smile from ear to ear. My initial thoughts on my own: to help people. Now I just need to figure out how to do that in a way that doesn’t make me lose myself! -Bee

    1. So true! And YES – helping people. So on point. That’s the tricky part of a yoga teacher – helping people without HEALING them. Creating space for them to heal themselves, by taking care of YOU first. Help by being YOU! Thanks for reading and in general being AWESOME, Bee. ❤

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