Now imagine being asked this four times a week by a rather intense East Indian gentleman/ yogi, who expected an answer. I was telling one of my yoga classes that my first yoga teacher liked to start us off in this manner. Being a graduate student at the time, it was easy to fall into a passive sense of “I’m here because I’m supposed to be . . .” which did not fly at all with my teacher (this just got intense breathing and a fierce stare). “But why are you HERE? I mean really HERE?” He would ask. I was never sure if he meant in class, in divinity school, or on the planet. I don’t think he was really quite sure, either . . . Or that the answer was any different, in Ravi’s mind.
The Sanskrit word is “samkalpa” a resolution or intention formed through an informed conversation between the body, mind, and heart, and we were expected to have one for most things in life, including yoga class.The yogic value of samkalpa begins with awareness, and as much acceptance as we are able to embrace, of where we are. It is not unmindful of our current condition, in fact, it dwells in the “is-ness” of our body, mind, and spirit, and suggests that this is the beautiful path that we will have the joy of journeying on our way to our intention. And it is, all, indeed, considered beautiful. We step onto the mat, we set our intention, and we trust that we’ve got exactly what we need for that moment to go where we need to go. That’s the journey of samkalpa. So happy to share it with you!