In her book on Chakra Healing, Liz Simpson tells us to imagine a field of grass across which you walk every day. Each time you walk the path you crush the grass underfoot and a distinct pathway eventually appears. In a similar way, every time you have a particular thought, a neural pathway is created within the brain. At first it is a weak link but the more times the same thought is brought to mind the stronger it becomes, just as the footpath starts with a few flattened blades of grass and eventually becomes a bare earth path which leads the way. This is the very reason why it is so difficult to break any habitual ways of thinking either negative or positive.
Affirmations or resolves are positive sentences which tell your brain that we wish to change or that we want to think differently. It may be saying “I can….” Rather than “I can’t….” The more we tread this particular path and speak to ourselves with optimistic messages the greater our chances of changing old, inappropriate patterns of thought and behaviour.
These affirmations should be made in the present tense, be positively phrased and have an emotional reward. Yours is the most influential voice in your life, because you believe it. So be very careful about making negative statements about yourself in your everyday life because you can always hear them. You can use affirmations at any time, anywhere, standing in the bus queue (or any other queue), walking along the street, before you go to sleep at night. But to use your positive affirmations (or Sankalpa as they are known in Yoga) during meditative practices, having previously planned and memorised them will enhance their strength.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati describes the Sankalpa as a short resolve which can be of three types: material, mental or spiritual. “ a wise man (or woman) makes a Sankalpa to attain divine qualities or to achieve progress on the spiritual path. Therefore, consider well before making your Sankalpa” advises Swami Satyananda. The wording of your Sankalpa should not change. It should be a few brief words which are repeated a few times during your yoga nidra or meditation.
Swami Satyananda states that “The sankalpa made during the practice of yoga nidra is always fulfilled. It never fails. But you cannot be impatient; you must wait patiently and keep practising it.”
• Establish your goal; consider how to make it achievable. Understand why you want something and affirm it out of love rather than fear.
• Always use the present tense. You don’t want your goals to remain in the future. Rather than I will be say I am becoming
• Repeat frequently, preferably in a meditative state and visualise achieving your goal
• Give emotion to your affirmation
• You may find it helpful to write out your affirmation using positive, not negative words
• Follow through with action. Affirming that you want to be slim and healthy while chomping chocolate or cream cakes won’t work!
• You may find it helpful to place your written affirmation where you can see it
• Don’t doubt that they will work
I accept and value myself exactly as I am
I am becoming the best person I can be
I am financially secure and happy
I am satisfied and successful
My life is abundant
I am healthy and happy
I am starting to speak up for myself
I am worthy of love and affection
I can cope with any situation
Holmes, Elizabeth in Here’s Health magazine Positive Power (March 2000 pg. 18)
Hudson, John (1996) Instant Meditation for Stress Relief Anness Publishing, London
Simpson, Liz (1999) The Book of Chakra Healing Gaia Books Limited, London
Swami Satyananda Saraswati (1993) Yoga Nidra Bihar School of Yoga, India