WILD THING YOGA POSE 3 SHOULDER ACTIONS

WILD THING YOGA POSE 3 SHOULDER ACTIONS

FLIP DOG DILEMMA

3 SHOULDER ACTIONS FOR WILD THING YOGA POSE

WILD THING

IS the popular yoga pose “FLIP DOG” WORTH IT?

If you practice or have been to a modern vinyasa or power yoga class than you know that flip dog is a popular posture that is called out somewhere toward the middle or end of the yoga class as an option. I have yet to be in a class where the instructor explains what flip dog is or how to get in to it. So how do you do the pose?

RISK VS REWARD

If you have practiced with me than you know that I am not a “there is only one way to do a pose” kind of teacher, but more of a “one or two ways not to do the pose”. The way NOT to do a pose is one that presents high risk of injury. While I don’t think flip dog poses a massive immediate threat on the shoulder girdle I do think that the way people are approaching it presents a higher than necessary risk on the gleno-humeral joint (shoulder) with out any real reward that would outweigh the risk. This is an important distinction, within the physical practice of yoga or anything else for that matter there is a risk factor that is unavoidable but when we weigh the potential benefits we often still make the choice to proceed. We do this everytime we sit in a car or board an airplane – the risk is catastrophic but the potential gain is worth it to us that we take the risk. So what is the risk of flip dog and what is the potential gain?

The way most people execute the yoga pose we call “flip dog” is more or less like reverse table top but on one hand and that but hand is turned out. To me the extreme extension of the shoulder is fine when baring weight on both hands and fully activating the posterior shoulder muscles (the muscles around the shoulder blades. Take away one hand and enter the pose from down dog and most people wind up punching the head of the humerus (arm bone) forward, putting the pressure in the anterior (front) part of the glenohumeral joint capsule. there are ligaments there that keep the arm bone snuggled into the shoulder socket – putting pressure on them starts to destabilize them and over time this could cause a knocking of the arm bone in the shoulder socket causing all sorts of soft tissue damage.

SOLUTION

First off, Don’t freak out, doing a flip dog here and there is not going to kill you, but there is an easy solution that still allows you to participate in this section of class, simply do Wild Thing Prep (shown as the starting position in the video below, and rise up to wild thing). Flipping over from down dog makes it easy to over load the joint as the weight of your body and gravity are falling downward. RISING UP you will be forced to use the muscles of your shoulders, hips, and back and you are less likely to have enough stretch to put yourself in a compromising position.

In the September Immersion we worked through the 3 primary shoulder actions through out a 75 minute class and then we learned how to apply them directly to wild thing! Each immersion practice focuses on a different yoga pose in order to develop a greater understanding of our body.  

We start in a prep position and line up the shoulder for maximum muscle recruitment and minimal joint risk, and then we try our best to maintain these actions as we rise up. You will see some further details in the video about how to line up your legs and how to shift your weigh out of your hand as well in order to utilize your hips and back which are much stronger than the shoulder.   

If you practice or have been to a modern vinyasa or power yoga class than you know that flip dog is a popular posture that is called out somewhere toward the middle or end of the yoga class as an option. I have yet to be in a class where the instructor explains what flip dog is or how to get in to it. So how do you do the pose? 

RISK VS REWARD 

If you have practiced with me than you know that I am not a “there is only one way to do a pose” kind of teacher, but more of a “one or two ways not to do the pose”. The way NOT to do a pose is one that presents high risk of injury. While I don’t think flip dog poses a massive immediate threat on the shoulder girdle I do think that the way people are approaching it presents a higher than necessary risk on the gleno-humeral joint (shoulder) with out any real reward that would outweigh the risk. This is an important distinction, within the physical practice of yoga or anything else for that matter there is a risk factor that is unavoidable but when we weigh the potential benefits we often still make the choice to proceed. We do this everytime we sit in a car or board an airplane – the risk is catastrophic but the potential gain is worth it to us that we take the risk. So what is the risk of flip dog and what is the potential gain? 

The way most people execute the yoga pose we call “flip dog” is more or less like reverse table top but on one hand and that but hand is turned out. To me the extreme extension of the shoulder is fine when baring weight on both hands and fully activating the posterior shoulder muscles (the muscles around the shoulder blades. Take away one hand and enter the pose from down dog and most people wind up punching the head of the humerus (arm bone) forward, putting the pressure in the anterior (front) part of the glenohumeral joint capsule. there are ligaments there that keep the arm bone snuggled into the shoulder socket – putting pressure on them starts to destabilize them and over time this could cause a knocking of the arm bone in the shoulder socket causing all sorts of soft tissue damage. 

SOLUTION 

Don’t freak out, doing a flip dog here and there is not going to kill you, but there is an easy solution that still allows you to participate in this section of class, simply do Wild Thing Prep (shown as the starting position in the video below, and rise up to wild thing). Flipping over from down dog makes it easy to over load the joint as the weight of your body and gravity are falling downward. RISING UP you will be forced to use the muscles of your shoulders, hips, and back and you are less likely to have enough stretch to put yourself in a compromising position. 

In the September Immersion we worked through the 3 primary shoulder actions through out a 75 minute class and then we learned how to apply them directly to wild thing! Each immersion practice focuses on a different yoga pose in order to develop a greater understanding of our body. 

We start in a prep position and line up the shoulder for maximum muscle recruitment and minimal joint risk, and then we try our best to maintain these actions as we rise up. You will see some further details in the video about how to line up your legs and how to shift your weigh out of your hand as well in order to utilize your hips and back which are much stronger than the shoulder.   

Wild Thing Shoulders: 3 Actions 

Step 1 - Elevate the shoulder

Step 1 is to allow the shoulder to come toward the ear, this makes step 2 more possible by releasing any of the muscles that are trying to stabilize the shoulder blade and this allows for mobility. As a result your shoulder will be stuck in front of your chest with very little access to back body muscles. So step 1 is really a preliminary step in order to access step 2 & 3.

Step 2: retract shoulder blade

Next, move your shoulder back (retract the shoulder blade toward the spine) this will recruit your back muscles bringing you greater stability while you rise up. The more you retract your shoulder blade the less you will stress the shoulder joint so focus heavily on this action, though it will take time for your pectoral muscles to develop flexibility.

Step 3: Rotate Shoulder Outward

To Stabilize the shoulder joint we then rotate the arm bone outward. This action winds up moving the shoulder blade down your back (shoulder away from ear) but this time instead of your front body muscles pulling it down, the back body muscles are at work. As you rise you will be able to rotate outward more, this will nudge your rib cage forward forming a deeper back bend. 

WHAT NEXT?

Of course I didn’t mention anything here about what is happening in the hips/buttocks, back or core. Every yoga pose is a full participation with your physical body and therefor requires more than just knowledge of your shoulders. However, We have to take everything one step at a time if we are to fully integrate these techniques into our body and be able to masterfully access them throughout our daily life. I suggest focusing on these actions every time you have a chance to do flip dog in a class – flip to a seated position and prepare your self for wild thing.

If you read this far you are either a yoga teacher already, or you are ready to be. For Yoga Teachers looking to advance your anatomy, biomechanics, and teaching skills you will be interested in the 300 Hour Online Training

On the other hand, If you are not a teacher yet, but a Yogi that is ready to dive deeply in to your yoga practice and get certified to share this practice with others than the 200 hour training is your next step!

Thank you for reading, and watching, I look forward to sharing more with you in an upcoming training or monthly immersion!

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WILD THING CLASS

The September Immersion includes the full length class to Wild Thing Pose as well as other peak poses with a heavy emphasis on Shoulder Bio-Mechanics! In this package you will get 12,  75 minute Yoga Classes, 4 of which include guided meditations! So, If you want to get to know your shoulders than this is THE immersion to practice!

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Are you interested in developing your practice, and taking it to the next level? Do you want learn the techniques that maximize your potential in advancing your practice while minimizing risk of injury? This immersion is for you. Take a deep dive into the heart of yoga both body and mind. With 12 Live Yoga Practices and a dedicated private facebook group to get all your questions answered about any yoga pose, this immersion is sure to meet your expectations and go well beyond. Can't practice at the live times? NO Problem, you get lifetime, anytime, anywhere access. After the class goes live, you will be able to tune in and watch as much as you would like! 

 

 

 

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

When you sign up for the immersion you will gain access to an exclusive members area of theyogimatt.com. When you are logged in your will have access and be able to watch the livestream that day, and any previously aired livestreams from that month.

ARE THERE RECURRING PAYMENTS?

NO. You are paying for access to one month of classes, after that you will be provided a discounted rate should you want to continue practicing regularly. You will NOT be automatically billed, THIS IS A ONE TIME PAYMENT that gives you access to the classes in the respective month that you purchase. 

WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE THE LIVE TIME?

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IS THIS TOO ADVANCED FOR ME?

Matt specializes in teaching ALL Levels yoga practices, providing modifications, and options throughout each class. These immersions are suitable for anyone with as little as 1-3 months yoga practice or more. You do not need to have a regular practice, nor do you need to be flexibly or strong. First time yogis are welcomed so long as you have no major injuries. Each class focuses on a different yoga pose in order to gain a greater understanding of our body within the asana practice.

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE LIVE IMMERISONS

Matt‘s classes are phenomenal- if you ever have the ability to practice with him, make use of it!! He has a very unique talent of combining anatomy, yoga philosophy and his own perspective into a super intense package of knowledge which is fun AND easy to understand. I enjoyed the April immersion a lot as it was a great way of deepening my own practice and broadening my horizon, especially as the lifetime access allows you to take classes
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Matt’s April pass was a journey. It was more than just the physical exploration of my practice but also helped me explore my spiritual practice. It was very nice to have a consistent practice during this time of uncertainty. If you are looking for a practice to ground yourself I would highly recommend exploring the Live Immersion of the Month.
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Covid_19 bought Matt into my home and my yoga practice. This last month I have learn't so much it has deepened my practice and my understanding of the anatomy & biomechanics and how we use both in every asana we practice. He has also helped in my teaching, ie asking my students to think about the foot as a tripod "big toe, pinkie toe, heel " I never imagined I would learn so much from the immersion.

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Samadhi

Samadhi

SAMADHI

Dissolving into the state of oneness.

Samadhi

Samadhi

Samadhi is the experience we have when the mind realizes the totality of itself – that it is one part of an infinitely grander whole. Using an analogy from one of my teachers, Alan Finger – Consiousness is like the ocean. When the ocean swells and crashes upon the shore, drops of water fly up in the air. These drops are still the ocean separated by time and space. We are those drops in relationship to the bigger more expansive ocean of consciousness. For brief moments in time we arise and take shape in the form of this body, collecting unique experiences in our mind and forming beliefs and identity. In meditation, the mind has the opportunity to realize this and come back to the awareness of all that is. In those moments when the mind returns to the understanding that it is simply a drop that is apart of the ocean, there is a feeling of indescribable goodness that overwhelms our being, yogis call this Samadhi. 

How Do We Reach Samadhi?

Samadhi is the result of your Sadhana (yogic practices). For the past month, I have been offering you teachings out of the yoga sutras, weaving them through the live classes, and sharing them here on this blog. We’ve discussed  “Abhyasa and Vairagya” and “Burning Samskara” amongst many others. Why are these practices necessary to experiencing Samadhi? Samadhi is the state of being when the intellect or budhi lets go of duality and releases into the realization that it is one with all things. The intellect is incredible, it allows us to understand life on the physical plane, dividing, defining, and systematically looking for like and unlike in everything. The Intellect’s ability to separate is incredible. We have spent our entire lives training the intellect, and therefor have become really good at separation. Unity or Oneness requires that the intellect surrenders to the reality that it is one of many tools. This requires that our identity or ego also surrenders to the fullness of reality that we are yes unique individuals that are a part of the magnificent power of nature, not separate but yet a thread woven into the fabric of something much grander. The Ego gets scared of the idea that it is not most important, so you have to remind it that this means it is not less than, it is actually far more than it thinks, it is a manifestation of the vast ocean of Awareness.

Maybe you want to experience the state of oneness with the universe and are ready to jump in but where to start? The Yoga Sutras are a guide map to this, but if you are going to practice one thing only its Self Reflection, Swadyaya. You can practice Self Reflection in your asana (physical practice) by observing the sensations of your body before, during and after each posture. You can do this through Pranayama, observation of the vital energy that pulses through your system. There are endless practices of Self Awareness. Start with the live classes from the Month of March and join me for the asana and meditation practices throughout the month of April. I am committed to sharing dharma talks to inspire self awareness in order to support the dissolution of the intellect, and mergence into the state of oneness. We will be doing this together, with he support of the global community to give us power and strength. 

OneNess 

In a time when everyone is feeling separateness, moving inward to the state of oneness is more important than ever. Underneath the layers of intellect and ego that disconnects us from the whole, exists One undivided consciousness that permeates all things. It is always there, omnipresent, and it pervades all aspects of our being. The only thing standing in our way of experiencing it is the need to hold up the illusion that we have created of truth – the need to know in order to feel safe. Instead find comfort in the unknown, vast potential that is at the core of your being. Thanks for tapping in with me Enjoy your practice!

 

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When You Subscribe You Will Instantly Get Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
  • Exclusive Online Course Discounts 
  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
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Flying Pigeon

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FLYING PIGEON

Key Actions to Balance in Flying Pigeon Pose

Flying pigeon

Flying Pigeon: Balance

Flying Pigeon is an exceptionally challenging pose for several reasons, strength, balance, flexibility for starters. Learning to balance on the hands requires tremendous strength in the flexors of the wrist, or what I call in my Handstand Trainings, “The Breaks”. Appropriately named because strength in the flexors of the wrist are what stop you from falling when on your hands. You will hear me in the video talking about gripping the ground, this is the action that will turn on the breaks. In the Live Stream on 3-25-2020 that this video is taken from, I went over a little drill that you can try out. On all fours, grip your fingers into the ground. With one hand, challenge the opposite hand by trying to pick up the fingers off the ground. Let’s say your right hand is on the ground, right hand try’s its best to dig its fingers into the earth. Left hand try’s to pick right hand’s fingers up. Switch rolls. Reading about this won’t do anything so you will have to get it in your body to really get it…did it? great! let’s continue. Whenever you are on your hands in your yoga practice maintain this type of activation to build strength in your breaks over time.

Flexibility

I still remember my first flying pigeon, I was in Elena Browers Anusara Yoga class, My hips were super tight back then. She had some great techniques to help us open our hips, many of which I still implement into my own practice and share in my online trainings , and live streams.  In one of my recent articles on compass pose I spoke of the topic that flexibility requires technique more than it does forcing repetitive stretches. To increase flexibility for flying pigeon you need to target several muscle groups which I call the 4 Quadrants of the hips – All 4 quadrants (front, back, inside, backside) can be targeted within your yoga practice by activating them isometrically through the postures. If you have been practicing live or in person with me than you are very familiar with this approach, and if you haven’t felt the benefits, you will soon with repetition. To give you one example to try, get into warrior 2 and pull your feet toward each other, like you are trying bunch up the mat under your feet. This activates the inner quadrant of the back leg, and the back quadrant of the front leg. Over time this will create health in these muscle groups which will directly increase your range of motion. 

Strength

When learning this posture, it is very helpful to pull the back knee into the chest which will activate the hip flexors and lower abdominals which helps in two ways. First it helps to keep the shin on the arm if the front hip is tighter. Second it helps keep the weight of you body forward which is required to maintain the balance in the posture. 

This postures can be deceptively challenging so go easy on your self if you find it incredibly difficult. Try these tips, and remember that strength and flexibility require technique and repetition. Enjoy!

 

Previous Live 3-25-20

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Compass Pose

Compass Pose

COMPASS POSE

3 KEY TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE FLEXIBILITY

COMPASS

Technique Makes everything Easier

Technique is like following an instructional guide that your body celebrates upon reading. The body, like all things in nature has a certain timing that when followed will allow for your greatest physical expression. The Goal for most people when it comes to the physical practice is typically strength or flexibility, but the problem is most people don’t know how to gain either and so they waste time, money, and energy following workout plans and training programs. Not to say that these are bad or that you shouldn’t use these to stay motivated, but be sure to harness your minds power on more than just getting in a workout, or achieving a certain number of repetitions, or attaining any particular pose. Instead, FOCUS on building BODY AWARENESS! This is why technique is so important – it gives you insight into the physical body that you are living in! Increasing body awareness will directly result in strength and flexibility. In Chromatic Yoga we define yoga as the practice of developing awareness of Mind, Body or Soul, giving us access to our inner state of Pure Bliss. To practice asana (physical awareness) from that perspective means to take a deep journey of your body, and technique is path that gets you there. 

In my Online Live Class from March 14, 2020 I shared 3 primary techniques to give insight into your body and greater access to compass pose. Compass is an incredible expression of the human body and it requires an equally incredible awareness of your hips, pelvis and shoulder blades. Let’s take a look at this video excerpt from the online class to give you the steps into this complicated posture, and then we will review below.

3 Actions To Access Your Flexibility

Step 1 - Retract Shoulder blade

Retraction of the shoulder blades is when you pull them toward each other using muscles called the rhomboids. In the Live Class I taught this in chair pose with cactus arms, as depicted in the above photo. Try this for yourself, take chair pose, feet wide, and arch the low back so your chest is more upright. Take your arms into cactus shape and pull your shoulder blades together. Then do the opposite which is like your going to hug someone – or like your about to come to eagle pose. 

Step 2: Anterior Tilt

A great way to practice what is called anterior tilt of the pelvis (lifting the buttocks upward – back arches) is first in cat and cow, and then moving on to something a little more challenging like Lunge Pose depicted above. I shared this in the practice to help go back and forth between anterior tilt which I playfully referred to as “Beyonce” and posterior tilt (tucking tail bone) more like “Michael Jackson”. Doing both actions will help you understand the range of motion your body is capable of.

Step 3: Rotate The Thigh inward

Maintaining Anterior tilt, we add internal rotation. Doing Anterior tilt with internal rotation is something we call in Chromatic Yoga a simplified technique – a combination of 2 or 3 joint actions. I shared this in the 3-14-2020 live class by doing something similar to a chair pose, but adding a spin of one thigh bone inward whilst arching the low back. In Hip workshops I usually pair this with a comical phrase “Heyyyy” because it’s a bit playfully sexy (not really). Try it on in an empty room and give a little sass.

FLEXIBILITY

 

If you switch your focus from flexibility to technique you will build awareness of you body much faster. Technique requires engagement of muscles through range of motion while moving your joints – this process is powerful if you have the willingness to learn. The result in my personal practice is undoubtably remarkable. In my 12+ years of study of the physical practice, I have worked with so many approaches, but I always come back to this one question: Am I more aware of my body from this?  If the answer is yes than you will not need to force flexibility or strength, they will be the simple results of your focused efforts.

For the full length class leading up to  Compass Pose you will enjoy the March Immersion, which includes the class that this video was taken from along with 5 other 75 minute Yoga classes! 

For more on strength and flexibility in the hips, I recommend my blog Pigeon Without Knee Pain 

 

COMPASS POSE

The March Immersion includes the full length class to Compass Pose and many more. In this package you will get 6 75 minute Yoga Classes, and 2 Guided Meditations! This is the perfect start to practicing with Matt and learning how to apply techniques to your yoga practice.

*A Favorite Amongst Class Pass Members

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THE LIVE IMMERSION EXPERIENCE

Are you interested in developing your practice, and taking it to the next level? Do you want learn the techniques that maximize your potential in advancing your practice while minimizing risk of injury? This immersion is for you. Take a deep dive into the heart of yoga both body and mind. With 12 Live Yoga Practices and a dedicated private facebook group to get all your questions answered about any yoga pose, this immersion is sure to meet your expectations and go well beyond. Can't practice at the live times? NO Problem, you get lifetime, anytime, anywhere access. After the class goes live, you will be able to tune in and watch as much as you would like! 

 

 

 

FAQ'S

HOW DOES IT WORK?

When you sign up for the immersion you will gain access to an exclusive members area of theyogimatt.com. When you are logged in your will have access and be able to watch the livestream that day, and any previously aired livestreams from that month.

ARE THERE RECURRING PAYMENTS?

NO. You are paying for access to one month of classes, after that you will be provided a discounted rate should you want to continue practicing regularly. You will NOT be automatically billed, THIS IS A ONE TIME PAYMENT that gives you access to the classes in the respective month that you purchase. 

WHAT IF I CAN'T MAKE THE LIVE TIME?

NO PROBLEM AT ALL! The Immersion consists of yogis worldwide in various time zones. This is why you have LIFETIME and UNLIMITED access. You can practice when it is convenient for you. You will receive emails throughout the week to keep you on track and keep you inspired to practice. There is a facebook group where you will here from other members, be able to ask questions and stay connected. Both the emails from me and the group will keep you committed to your practice, even if you cannot practice live.

IS THIS TOO ADVANCED FOR ME?

Matt specializes in teaching ALL Levels yoga practices, providing modifications, and options throughout each class. These immersions are suitable for anyone with as little as 1-3 months yoga practice or more. You do not need to have a regular practice, nor do you need to be flexibly or strong. First time yogis are welcomed so long as you have no major injuries. Each class focuses on a different yoga pose in order to gain a greater understanding of our body within the asana practice.

WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE LIVE IMMERISONS

Matt‘s classes are phenomenal- if you ever have the ability to practice with him, make use of it!! He has a very unique talent of combining anatomy, yoga philosophy and his own perspective into a super intense package of knowledge which is fun AND easy to understand. I enjoyed the April immersion a lot as it was a great way of deepening my own practice and broadening my horizon, especially as the lifetime access allows you to take classes
as often as you want- trust me, you will want to take them again! I cant wait for next month’s classes and highly recommend everyone to take the May pass and joining in on the journey.

~Nadja Kyra King - @nadja_kyra

Matt’s April pass was a journey. It was more than just the physical exploration of my practice but also helped me explore my spiritual practice. It was very nice to have a consistent practice during this time of uncertainty. If you are looking for a practice to ground yourself I would highly recommend exploring the Live Immersion of the Month.
~Amanda Barnes Salowsky

Covid_19 bought Matt into my home and my yoga practice. This last month I have learn't so much it has deepened my practice and my understanding of the anatomy & biomechanics and how we use both in every asana we practice. He has also helped in my teaching, ie asking my students to think about the foot as a tripod "big toe, pinkie toe, heel " I never imagined I would learn so much from the immersion.

~Debbie, @the_joyofyoga

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Are you ready to reconnect to your body, expand your practice, access new yoga pose's, and feel better on a daily basis?

 

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Newsletter

When You Subscribe You Will Instantly Get Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
  • Exclusive Online Course Discounts 
  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
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CONTACT

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Samskaras and Neuroplasticity

Samskaras and Neuroplasticity

Burning SAmskaras

 

Dissolve Thought, Emotion and Behavioral Patterns

 

Does your family put your spiritual practice to the test? 

Have you been making leaps and bounds through your yoga or meditation practice – feeling better day to day, learning to take a breath in the challenging moments and ultimately living life more freely from a place of joy? The Yoga practice helps us move in that direction and then we go back home for a holiday gathering with our family and suddenly we are right back where we started. Why is that? What is it about family, care takers, or being in the home we grew up in that pulls us back into our old patterns of thought, emotions or behaviors? According to the yoga tradition its because of Samskaras.

What ARE SamskaraS?

A samskara is often translated as the groove or pattern of the mind and directly relates or corresponds with our actions or behavior. Samskaras begin forming at the very moment we step into our body. Our parents, or the ones who raise us are largely play a major roll in the forming of our Samskaras. When we were children our lense of perception was colored for us, we were taught to see the world the way our parents, teachers, and society saw it. At some point in our journey we woke up and began to self reflect, recognizing that perhaps the lens we’ve been looking through is not the truth. Lets look at this lens of perception as a window – the window has a lifetime of dirt and grime, and the yoga, meditation and self inquiry practice help to clean the window little by little, allowing us to see life more clearly so we can experience it as it is rather than as we believe it to be. 

The analogy I use in the video below is another way of understanding Samskaras. I explain that Samskaras create grooves in the mind like the groove of a river in a mountain side. The river carves out the earth little by little though repetition and time and eventually becomes powerful. Our mind  (thoughts, emotions, beliefs, perception) is exactly like the river. Starting when we are young it begins to look for like and unlike experiences and collecting them  as beliefs and perception. This helps us to determine safe and unsafe situations, and forms our communication: “when I cry, caretaker brings me food”, or perhaps “when I cry, no one responds”. Through repetition these observations become our perception, or the grooves of our mind. We may then form the opinion that it is good or bad or effective or ineffective to express ourselves a certain way. We form beliefs about others and the world we live in. 

Now that you have began your yoga practice you have likely begun the process of burning away your Samskaras, How do you know? If you are behaving differently: more patient, kind, respectful, loving, emotionally stable or vulnerable, light hearted, joyful, etc. Burning Samskaras or old patterns allows us to live in the now, where the magic of life exists, and the world feels exciting and new again. 

WHY DOES BEING AROUND FAMILY MAKE ME FEEL LIKE I HAVE NOT GOTTEN ANYWHERE?

Because the vast majority of Samskaras were formed at a very young age they have had a life time to get stronger. Like the river that has been digging its way into the earth, the longer it has been flowing, the deeper the groove. The samskaras that were formed as a child are triggered by experiences that are closest to the ones that formed them in the first place – typically your parents, siblings or caretakers. Or you might be most triggered by people in your life that most resemble them which could be your boss, teacher, in-laws, friend, etc. You may have been working on yourself for quite sometime, burning away the outer layers, only to show up at a family gathering or holiday dinner and notice your blood boiling, ready to argue, run away or just plain give up. There is an old saying that goes something like “if you think you are enlightened, visit your family”. How perfect that statement is as a reminder that yoga is a practice not a one time product purchase to solve your issues – we need to continuously stoke the fire of transformation to experience freedom from our Samskaras. 

Burning Samskaras

Burning Samskaras means is recognized in modern psychology as Neuroplasticity – our brains capacity to change our neurological patterning. While much of our childhood patterns are formed without our awareness, it is awareness that allows us to burn what no longer serves us. Awareness is also what allows us to choose how we want to feel, act, think and exist in this world. Awareness is a state of being that floods our conscious mind when we are present in the here and now. Have you ever watched yourself think a thought, or witnessed the sensations of your body, or decided to take a breath instead of react? The part of you that is aware of thoughts, emotions, and actions is awareness and Awareness is something you can strengthen just like a muscle. How do you strengthen it? The 4 main practices are Yoga, Meditation, Breath Work (pranayama), and Self Inquiry. Self Inquiry is also the result of the first three practices, as it is our “awareness” that creates the inquiry. Self inquiry is the process of asking your self questions, observing your thoughts, emotions and behavioral patters, and reflecting upon your actions and reactions. Through repetition, your awareness builds strength and awareness slowly burns away old patterns – literally the brain forms new neurological “wiring” which changes the way we act or react in any given situation. 

Anchoring

There is much that is beyond our control such as life circumstances, and outcomes of our actions, but what we do have control of is the inner landscape of our mind and our actions. That might seem like a large task, and it does take time an routine practice of yoga and meditation (see Elements of Mastery for both), however there is one thing you can do right now to help you maintain your ground when you step back into the all too familiar family dinner or holiday celebration. 

“Create and Anchor” This is what I call having an intention, but I use the imagery of an anchor so when the seas get rough, you hold tight to the ocean floor and stay deeply grounded in your intention. The questions to form your intention are

  1. How do you want to feel?
  2. How do you want to Act? 

Anchor your self into the answers of these questions by asking yourself how you want to feel/act the moment you start to feel your blood boil under the surface of your skin, or when you just want to run or hide. When you notice yourself falling back into your old patterns hold tight to your anchor and do not let go. You may need to excuse yourself and take a few breaths or do a quick sun salutation, and that is ok! Be compassionate, the river is incredibly strong but you are indeed stronger. 

Elements of Mastery

The most in-depth online yoga immersion offered by Matt Giordano. This immersion contains several full length workshops focusing on how the body relates to nature’s elements : Earth, Water, Fire, Air, & Space. In addition to deepening your physical practice you will learn anatomy, adjustments and the approach to Mastery!

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When You Subscribe You Will Instantly Get Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
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  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
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