How Yoga Can Dissolve Unhealthy Patterns with Seven Steps
Change your samskaras, or grooves. How Yoga Can Help you Change your Grooves.
Do you ever find yourself replaying and reliving the same circumstances in your life over and over? Why does the same lesson keep arising? Why do the same issues repeat themselves? Why do we stay stuck in the same relationships, attitudes and behaviors that only cause us grief and despair?
These deeply ingrained patterns, thoughts and behaviors that play over and over in our lives are called Samskaras. Samskaras are the conditionings that are inlaid into our being from the moment we arrive in this dimension. Samskaras reveal themselves as conscious or unconscious reactions. They are perpetuated throughout our lives and come up when we least expect them to.
We embody both positive and negative habits, patterns, behaviors, attitudes and tendencies. Our life’s work is to cultivate positive patterns of behavior and thought so we can feel aligned with our inherent peace, joy and bliss.
Here are Seven Steps for Dissolving Unhealthy Patterns and Cultivating Healthy Ones with Yoga Practice.
1. Be AWARE
Be aware. Seeing clearly is one of the most challenging and yet fulfilling things we can do for ourselves. Awareness is the first step towards change. Changing our old habits and patterns can either be agonizing or energizing. It’s really your choice. Become sensitive and aware of your samskaras through regular practice to pierce through the veils that distort your perception.
As discussed in the Yoga Sutra, Practice is the effort to be steady and the steadiness of our efforts for long uninterrupted periods of time with earnest respect and devotion. It is said that our relationship with the Yoga Asana is reflective of our relationship with ourselves and others.
The more regularly we practice the more aware we become of our knee jerking reactions and tendencies within a posture. How do we react to any particular action. Do we close down, contract, or check out? Are we complacent, do we criticize or judge ourselves or others (i.e. Your teacher).
As we develop this close and intimate relationship with ourselves we can be more conscious and aware of our reactions.
2. Be WILLING
Be willing. Be open, receptive and willing to grow and transform. Take the path of least resistance. Change is the most uncomfortable and painful when we resist it. As you start to change everything inside of you will shake you to your core to do it the old way, to go back to the familiar way.
When you are willing and have an earnest desire to change for the better, the process can be exciting and invigorating. Have trust and faith that you are doing what needs to be done to dissolve old patterns.
3. Be NON-JUDGMENTAL
Be non-judgemental. In Yoga we learn to be loving and compassionate with ourselves. In your practice witness your reactions in mind , body and attitude with non-judgment.
4. Be REFLECTIVE
Be reflective. Reflect on your patterns through contemplation. The practice of meditation allows you to sit with what is, and watch the fluctuations that arise in your mind. As you begin to calm and quiet the storms in your mind, you can see more clearly the patterns, behaviors thoughts and attitudes that serve you and those that no longer serve or support you.
Are your patterns a reaction to what someone else thinks, says or does? Are you being honest with yourself and your feelings? Are you aligned with your greater good and purpose?
5. Be FORGIVING
Be forgiving. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Forgive yourself for not being on your game 24/7. Forgive yourself for your flaws, for each time you don’t quite get it. When we forgive ourselves we let go of the self critic and create space to try again with clarity around what went wrong, and how we can do it differently next time.
6. Be DISCERNING
Be discerning. Samskaras never go away. They either get stronger or weaker depending on how you choose to respond to the clarity that is unfolding. New samskaras are constantly being developed. Through discriminative awareness you can choose to replace negative patterns with healthy ones. You can choose to starve your unhealthy reactions, and feed healthy patterns that do serve and support you.
New and refreshed perspectives allow us to never stop looking at ourselves, thus asking the BIG questions that invite growth and self realization. Who am I, Where do I come from, What is my purpose, Where am I going, Where would I like to be, What do I need?
7. Recognize your progress
Recognize your progress. It is important to acknowledge where we started and how far we have come. Too many times people are not able to complement themselves for their progress. Rather, they obsess on how much more they need to do to get from A-Z. Instead, recognize your little and large successes. Acknowledge when a regular trigger didn’t throw you off your rocker. Recognize when you stayed calm and free in a posture that in the past terrified you or created an intense emotional charge.
See your progress and acknowledge it!
Yoga as a healing system has so many benefits and effects on your well being. Use the tools that you learn on your mat off your mat, and begin to dissolve your unhealthy patterns to invite new healthy attitudes and perspectives into your life. You always have a choice, and NOW is the time to align with the true part of your nature that is not subject to, or defined by your samskaras. Peel back the layers of your personality so
you can experience your intrinsic bliss and freedom.