Hips & HanumanasanasplitsHIPS & HANUMANASANA What a posture! Hanumanasana is such a beautiful expression of what is possible in our physical yoga practice. However, it’s not about “achieving” Hanumanasana but about the exploration of what is possible in terms...
Even though we uncover a great deal about our bodies in our asana practice, we actually unearth much more from the other areas of our yoga practice. If we get the opportunity to delve deeper into the philosophy of yoga, it can take us places that will challenge our sense of self. In Matt’s 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and in his recent The Power of Bliss immersion, he describes the teachings about samskaras. What are samskaras? He breaks it down explicitly in today’s clip by saying that they are patterns or grooves of the mind, developed through your life’s experiences. When something happens to you, your brain looks for similar circumstances in order to easily organize and understand them. What you’ll receive from today’s video is an opportunity to consider what patterns and beliefs you’ve developed in mind and body.
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HOW DO SAMSKARAS PRESENT THEMSELVES?
A good example might be that when someone says or does something we’ve heard before or recognize as familiar, the brain, or the ego aspect of ourselves, jumps in with the opinion that the outcome will be exactly the same as it was in the past. Unfortunately, if the experiences are negative, it’s easy to get stuck in the pattern and continue to expect the same results. This may cause a sense of hopelessness, making it difficult to see beyond our current circumstances.
The beauty of the yoga practice is that, as the journey unfolds, we come to understand that we have the ability to challenge and transform the samskaras that do not serve us but have still become “our story.” This ability doesn’t mean that the process is easy, nor does it mean that there’s an end point. We are always experiencing new things.
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SAMSKARAS: WHAT HAVE YOU DECIDED ABOUT YOU & YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?
WHAT IS NEUROPLASTICITY?
Cultivating the awareness that we can be an observer of our thoughts is a step in the right direction towards transformation. Transformation itself, however, requires more than just changing our minds.
Taking command to cause an actual shift can be described as “burning samskaras,” which is a way to think about physiologically changing the neural pathways in our brain. This is also known as neuroplasticity:
“Neuroplasticity, also known as neural plasticity or brain plasticity, is a process that involves adaptive structural and functional changes to the brain. A good definition is ‘the ability of the nervous system to change its activity in response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing its structure, functions, or connections.’”
Puderbaugh M, Emmady PD. Neuroplasticity. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557811/
When this has taken place, our new intuitive response is to access what serves us.
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SAMSKARAS AND OUR BODIES
As we age, we can fall into the pattern of thinking that we’re just too old to do certain things. We may also believe that if we haven’t been able to execute a particular posture or find more flexibility in the past, then this will always be true.
These samskaras are created through messages we’ve been told and through experiences we’ve had in our bodies, which convince us that this is our eternal reality.
In today’s clip, Matt skillfully walks us through the techniques to find greater access in Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana. This posture may seem completely reasonable and accessible already, or it may seem too difficult to attempt.
Consider for a moment that we actually have the ability to execute this posture by taking step-by-step action with Matt’s techniques. It’s possible to transform our experience and thus change our belief about what is possible.
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