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  • Writer's pictureGail Hannay

What are Samskaras?

Yoga increases our awareness, making us more aware of all the sensations and emotions going on inside our bodies. Increasing awareness is the first and most important step to living a more conscious life. If we’re not aware of what’s going on inside of us, then we’re not going to be able to do anything about it. Nearly all of us today live with a background feeling of unease and slight anxiety, sometimes it’s low level and sometimes it’s high! We have come to think this is normal and that’s just how we are but, it’s not normal and it certainly is not how we have to be. This “background noise” is what we call Samskaras in yoga. Samskaras are imprints left on our minds and in our bodies from past experiences that we didn’t process properly for various reasons, maybe we were too young or too traumatised by the event, so we pushed it away. But it doesn’t leave us, it stays lurking in the subconscious and flares up when someone or some event reminds us of that emotion we have stored. We most often aren’t even aware of the old emotion or that it has never left us, this all plays out unconsciously, becoming the unconscious pattern which creates our life and our reality. With guided breathing(pranayama) and Yoga postures we stir this stuff up and when we stop between the postures and relax, we can release it for good. It’s not unusual in a Kundalini yoga class to suddenly feel emotional, the yoga and breath have stirred up some of your stuff and now you can let it go in whatever way feels right for you.

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