Samskara, as with most Sanskrit words, has several context driven meanings in Indian philosophy. Some of its loose translations include “mental impression,” “psychological imprint,” “recollection” and “activator.” All these definitions help us understand its reference to a deep conditioning that, in part, is caused by past actions and, in part, is responsible for future actions, much like a broken record stuck in a groove that repeats the same tune. Samskara is what we are referring to when we say we are “repeating the same pattern.”
Every experience, intent and action is “recorded” in the deeper structure of the mind. Such programming is responsible for manifesting certain tendencies, expectations, types of people and circumstances into our human experience, usually unconsciously. Samskara also affects an individual’s attitude towards life – positive, negative or neutral – and that attitude will, in turn, become more deeply associated with a particular experience.
Since Samskara is hidden deep in the subconscious and unconscious minds, we may not aware of the conditioning but we may become aware of the pattern it is creating in our lives. Samskara is evident as a cycle of habitual thoughts, actions and experiences that often feel like fated repetitions. When we feel stuck, it is often due to samskara. Obsessions and compulsions have their root in the samskara of past conditioning.
Yoga, in the broadest sense of both practice and theory, concerns itself with the remolding of samskara. Like water being wrung from a cloth, the yoga process drains past conditioning and reprograms our makeup with positive and constructive habits that lead us to evolve into the best version of ourselves. Yoga helps us spiral outwards in expansion instead of being sucked in uncontrollably.
The practice of yoga unpacks us, particle by particle, cell by cell, disintegrating emotional cellular memory, while its integrative force pulls us together again into a new shape. Like fearless explorers, we dive into the body to access and unwind the knots that bind our body and mind on so many levels.
More than 80% of our thoughts and actions are born in the subconscious or unconscious mind; when the mind is cleansed from self-destructive patterns, we begin to live in tune with the song of the universe and consciously dance the cosmic dance.
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