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A yoga instructor teaches that calmness can come when thoughts are recited and gratitude is expressed.
By KELLIE DIXON, Times Staff Writer
Published January 15, 2008
Yoga instructor D.B. Reisen ends classes at Miles Away Farm in Dade City with 10 minutes of sankalpa, a meditation practice that emphasizes positive thinking, acceptance and gratitude.
[Zach Boyden-Holmes | Times]
Sankalpa. It's a Sanskrit word that means resolution, free will or determination, according to Sankalpa.org.in.
Reisen said the practice, which is a way to reprogram oneself from the self-conscious, can empower a person to change his or her life.
How it works:
The sankalpa is a phrase or collection of phrases that are recited after a person meditates. Reisen said meditation and reciting her sankalpa is the first thing she does in the morning - even before that first cup of coffee.
She'll wake up and then lie on her bed, often listening to a CD created by her instructor. The CD relays relaxation instructions similar to the ones that Reisen shares with her classes. The practice starts with relaxing the scalp and goes all the way to agreeing that "at this moment, I accept everything that has brought me to this point."
Now that she's ultimately relaxed, she can cue her sankalpa.
There is no magic incantation, but word choice is important when it comes to pinpointing a sankalpa. Reisen offered the following example - a healing sankalpa might start as "My shoulder is healing," to "My shoulder is healthy," to perhaps, "I am healthy and strong so I might contribute healing and understanding to the planet, my community, etc."
For Reisen, she gets up, goes to her meditation chair and fingers through her rosary beads as she repeats her sankalpa. She doesn't have 108 different mottos, although there are that many beads, so she just repeats the ones she does use.
Finally, after repeating the sankalpa a few times, she fills her heart with gratitude. The point is to mimic the feeling you think you will experience when these changes happen.
"Intention is a seed," Reisen said. "But gratitude is a fertile soil. You can't have one without the other."
The end result
Don't expect immediate change. But there can be a calmness, a peace about you. Reisen said that if the sankalpa produces no change, then it is on the person to dig a little deeper to understand the lesson he or she is supposed to learn from that circumstance.
Reisen's classes are learning more about cultivating a sankalpa with every class. But many, like Pam Fairbanks, meditation will continue to be a way of life no matter what it's called.
Fairbanks, who lives in Lake Jovita, has been meditating for a year. She meditates for an hour each day.
"It's an important part of my life," Fairbanks said. "It allows me to know who I am."