New Year, Fresh Perspective
Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! The beginning of a New Year is certainly cause for celebration! Although 2022 has been a step up from recent years for most of us, we do still have COVID19 making itself known. Furthermore, many of us still have the same external disturbances here now that we’ve had for years and years. Maybe for you it’s a noisy neighbor, a brother-in-law who is always broke, a child who won’t do her chores or even a traffic-congested drive to work; unfortunately, for many of us, the external circumstances are much worse. But does that mean we throw our hands up in the air and give up? Or, keep trudging along, waiting for these external circumstances to change? Our yoga teachings tell us no, heck no!
At its core, yoga philosophy teaches us the importance of dismantling unhelpful, habituated patterns in our lives. Habituated patterns can obscure the way we perceive our surroundings and provoke strong emotional reactions to our external circumstances. These automatic and habitual reactions are, in yogic terms, known as samskaras. Samskaras subconsciously dictate our behavior and obscure the way we see the world. Samskara literally translates as “groove, mark or impression”, and is typically formed when we are young as a result of an occurrence of an event in our life that left a strong and often negative impression. Some samskaras are helpful, i.e. don’t touch the hot stove or you’ll get burned. Others are not so helpful, i.e. don’t speak up and say what you really think or you’ll be punished. And the more often we repeat a certain reactionary behavior that is based on a long-held samskara, the deeper the groove becomes and the more difficult it is to see the world as it truly is unfolding.
Deep impressions based on what is happening around us occur at all ages: the last few years have almost certainly dealt each of us its fair share of samskaras. With a truly authentic yoga practice, however, we are offered a way out. Yoga invites us to step out of our minds and out of our reactions to see things as they are, no filters. So give it a shot and start small: that person who’s driving 40mph in a 50mph might not be so aggravating after all!
Happy New Year!
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about how yoga can change your life, we’ve got plenty of informative workshops coming up, so stay tuned!