become a yoga instructorBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed 

If you have chosen a sankalpa, or a strong guiding direction or purpose for the new year, you may be encountering obstacles or difficulties as you begin to work on implementing the steps necessary to manifest your dreams and desires. When we work towards achieving our highest goals, frequently we must also change the way that we usually do things. If this is the case in your life, you may be experiencing an underlying resistance to doing things a new way. However, doing things in a different way will ultimately produce different results than you have experienced in the past. 

Implicit in the definition of the Sanskrit term “sankalpa” is an underlying desire to live in such a way that one’s actions are beneficial to oneself, the people around you and the world at large. According to the profound wisdom of the ancient Yogic teachings, implementing a sacred intention to offer the highest aspects of yourself in service to others will ultimately free you from negativity and self-destructive thoughts. However, in the meantime, you may experience an increase in these limiting and self-destructive thoughts as you strive to manifest your sankalpa in the coming months. 

For instance, you may be encountering a sense of sluggishness or lethargy that you need to fight through before truly manifesting your highest goals and dreams. In order to break through this lethargy, regularly engaging in a vigorous Yoga practice is optimal. Practicing a sequence of flowing Yoga poses will effectively release muscular tension and stress. Practicing a vigorous sequence of flowing Yoga asanas will also demand your one pointed attention and focus. With this unilateral focus, limiting and self-negating thoughts and mental habits may become even more evident. With this awareness, you will have the ability to choose to witness and let go of spurious thoughts and redirect your mind on more uplifting ways of perceiving yourself and the world. 

One of the most energizing standing sequences of Yoga poses are the Sun Salutations. This series of Yoga postures will energize and awaken every part of your body. For optimal benefits when practicing the Sun Salutations, it is important to also practice Ujjayi Pranayama. This resonant ocean-sounding breath is similar to an old fashioned bellows that people would use to fan the flames of a fire. On an individual level, your fire is the inner fire of Yoga. When you practice the Sun Salutations in conjunction with Ujjayi Pranayama, you will fan the internal flames of the fire of Yoga, which will help to remove any sluggishness, lethargy and self-defeating thoughts that will inevitably limit your ability to manifest your sankalpa in the world.

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