Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mindfulness-Mindful of your samskaras

Samskaras are our habitual thought and emotional patterns. Our samskaras arise as a result of our experiences, our interactions with the world. Each interaction creates a 'groove' in our subconscious which then shapes the way we think, our values, our beliefs. This mental and emotional conditioning results in the habitual ways we behave. This is great if our samskaras are positive but often this is not the case and the way we interact with the world causes hurt to ourselves and others. Even so our samskaras may be so deeply rooted it is hard to change them. We may even be reluctant to change: it feels more comfortable to be fearful, or worrying about the future ('after all that stops bad things happening doesn't it???'). It may even be said that we are 'addicted' to an emotional state or behaviour that causes us pain. We may not even remember the experience that caused the samskara.

How do we start to change negative samskaras?  
Firstly we need to recognise that we want to change a certain thought pattern or emotional behaviour. This requires awareness. It is important to acknowledge that the 'groove' in our subconscious may have been deepened by years of reacting in a certain way, so change is not going to happen immediately but having an intention to change is a really good start. Then we need to have a vision of the new samskara we would like to create. Eventually our interactions with the world will be with love, truth, compassion, generosity and a new 'groove' in our subconscious will form. 

How can our yoga practice help?  
Svadhyaya, self-reflection is important  in order to develop awareness of the thought patterns and emotional patterns that are preventing us from living peaceful, contented lives we deserve. 

Quote from Yoga sutra 111.18
"Through sustained focus on our patterns, habits, and conditioning, we can gain knowledge and understanding of our past and how we can change the patterns that aren't serving us to live more freely and fully"

Yoga can also help cultivate the willpower and determination required to affect change.  Through our yoga practice we can light the 'internal fire', agni which will help 'burn off' these negative samskaras. This is because lighting the internal fire helps digestion (yogis believe good digestion is the basis of good health) which purifies the body and when the body becomes pure, the mind becomes clear. In our video this week therefore we will be focused on the third chakra which is the source of our willpower. To create a vision of  our new samskara we practice Humming Bee Breath which stimulates the third eye chakra, our centre of intuition. Please see also 'Crystals for chakra healing-Third eye chakra' on my 'sister' blog-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/crystals-for-chakra-healing-third-eye_8.html

Meditation is of enormous benefit to affecting the changes in our thought and emotional patterns.  It calms the mind which gives greater clarity and meditation has been proven to cause changes in the prefrontal cortex which controls our habitual patterns. Every time we let go of a stressful thought or emotion as we meditate new neurological connections are being formed in the prefrontal cortex. Repetition allows these neurological connections to be strengthened.  

Please see my yoga video, 'Mindfulness-Mindful of your samskaras' on my YouTube Channel-https://youtu.be/HirmUg9otNY

Janet x

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