Over the last 18 days I have participated in “The Yogi Assignment” 30-day program book by Kino MacGregor. It has been full of wonderful prompts to think about while practicing as well as challenges and assignments to better incorporate the yoga lifestyle into your everyday routine. Day 18- “Breaking the Samskara Chain” really resonated with me so I wanted to share with all of you. I highly encourage you to read this book (if you asked me I’d even lend it to you!) as it really does encourage deeper thinking to get to the heart of yoga.
Day 18 talks about students asking a guru about tightness and inflexibility within the body. Instead of responding with suggestions of physical modifications, he would say, “Oh many samskaras there are”. Samskaras refer to the past experiences and traumas that are kept within our bodies and minds, and the idea that those old patterns/habits are the source of physical stiffness through yoga.
There was a time when I would have seen this way of thinking as “out there” and not applicable to my life. But the more I’ve gone through life and my practice, I know this to be true. Not only do my physical traumas, like my scar tissue from a broken collar bone, affect my flexibility… but I know I hold other non-physical traumas within my body as well.
Samskaras are patterns imprinted in our consciousness that can be tough to change. I like to think they’re difficult to change because we aren’t totally aware of their presence. Instead of being drawn down in life by this “undertow” of that past baggage, yoga reveals even the deepest samskaras hidden within the body. When I think of all the poses I am unable to even attempt, let alone do with ease, I now think about the samskaras those poses will release. Not only that, but my journey of letting go of the past and creating new habits and fresh energy within me that will take me there.