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5 Yogis Reflect on the Importance of Purpose in Practice

Hundreds of yogis gathered to explore different elements of the yoga practice, including the yogic principle of Sankalpah, which can be transformational for all.

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Yogis often start practice with an intention, either a mantra or a dedication that connects the physical practice to a higher purpose. For centuries, yogis have sought deeper meaning in life not only through physical practice and the melding of action and thought, but through a practice of Sankalpah—a deep vow, or resolution to connect one’s life with elevated purpose. Attaining resolve around purpose can itself pose a challenge to the confused among us; yoga offers a path towards reckoning with what it is that we really need, what it is that we are truly capable of.

In a conference arranged by our friends at NY Yoga + Life Magazine at the Rubin Museum of Art, yogis and meditators came together to explore pathways of understanding one’s own purpose. We were lucky enough to speak with five of their master teachers on what sankalpah and the practice of teaching means to them.

Sarah Finger, Co-Founder of Ishta Yoga

Sankalpah is a seed, or an intention that we plant to manifest that which resonates with our own highest purpose. To me, teaching is the sharing of tools, techniques, and wisdom to empower others to elevate their own consciousness.

Ali Cramer, Co-Creative Director of Laughing Lotus

Sankalpah is a sacred vow—one that comes from a place of serving your Svadharma, or personal path. I love the idea that it is a promise to follow through on a task that comes not from our ego, but from our hearts. We all are here to fulfill a destiny, and we can choose to turn away from it, or dive in with full willingness. When we do, we suffer less. It’s that simple.

To me, teaching IS fulfilling my Svadharma. To pass on the knowledge that has been given to me by my teachers, to the best of my ability, is an honor. Teaching is my happy place—I get to witness people realizing (and celebrating!) their own truth through their practice, I  learn to communicate in a way that is more inclusive, and I do my best to hold Space for the transformation (and even transcendence) that is possible through the gifts of yoga.

Related: Why Practice Yoga? The Many Ways It Changes Us

Kelly Kamm, Founder Happy Buddha Yoga

Sankalpah is a commitment to your most profound truth. More than just an intention, it is what arises from deep within the wells of your heart when you ask yourself, “What is my true purpose in this world, and how may I be of service?”  A sincere Sankalpah gets you out of bed in the morning, lights a fire in your heart and guides you in the right direction all day long.


Satya Scainetti, Founder of Satya Jewelry

Teaching for me is a gift. If I can share and inspire someone with what I have been so blessed to learned, I am happy. If I can plant a seed of curiosity of what has transformed my life to oneness then I have lived my highest purpose.

Sara Auster, Sound Therapy Practitioner

Sankalpa is intention or desire originating from the heart or mind, focusing will into action. Teaching is learning. I love the endless conversation and exchange between student and teacher.

To hear more from these teachers, join them at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City this weekend. To sign up, or learn more, click here.

Photos by Robert Sturman



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