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The Yoga of Positive Change


Yoga is a process of de-conditioning, of breaking down the unnecessary on a physical, mental and emotional level, to create space for true understanding.  All of us are born into families and cultures with certain habits and traditions. These habits and traditions create the lens through which we perceive our life experience. Sometimes these ideas about the way the world works are beneficial to our growth but more often they limit, restrict and hold us back.

In yogic philosophy, we call these notions samskara. Samskara are mental impressions that result from past actions (karmas). They are unconscious reactions and inclinations that override our intuition and ability to act mindfully.  Samskaras distort our perception and cloud our ability to comprehend our own true essence and the pure nature of reality.

Each of us has our own personal collection of samskaras that we have been accumulating from the moment of our birth right up to this precise point in time. They are inherited from our ancestors and carried over from past lifetimes. Every thought and every action (conscious or not) creates a vibration which we subconsciously store as samskara. Our thoughts form the ideas that are the framework of our reality. That which we focus upon becomes stronger. Tendencies and beliefs will remain as they are until we shed some objective awareness on them. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things that our thoughts and belief systems cannot change, and there will always be things that are beyond our control. We can, however, control our relationship with what is. The sun will rise and set every day, it will rain, it will snow, there will be earthquakes and hurricanes, people will cut you off in traffic, take your parking spot and loose your luggage. How you handle it is up to you. You can change your mind at any time.

The way that we move (or don’t move) our bodies on the yoga mat is a metaphor for how we move through life. What do you believe is possible?  Are you present?  What are you judging? Where are you restricted? What are you resisting? What are you thinking about the other people in the room? Are you acting or reacting?

Your yoga practice is an amazing tool for taking a good, honest look at yourself and observing the vibe you have created, the world that you live in. It is an opportunity to notice what patterns and attachments are actually working for you and what needs to shift. Your practice (on and off the mat) is the laboratory in which to recognize, question and change certain samskaras. Simply and deeply believing that you are strong, kind,  resilient, worthy and amazing will change your life. Giving yourself and others permission to fall and permission to soar is liberating. Make peace with the resistance by accepting the things you cannot change and make the best of them. As new beliefs and habits become established, the old ones get weaker. This is called growth and evolution.

Growth and evolution are seldom pretty, but why do things have to be pretty? The idea that life requires attractive packaging is an example of a cultural samskara that is completely fiction and detracts from the richness of life itself. Fall down, fall apart, get messy. Listen to the wise ones but question everything. This is how to discover the authentic truth as it presently exists and to create positive change in your own life. As Rumi says, “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you, don’t go back to sleep.”

Jaycee and I have created Jungle Alchemy as a way to break down these conditionings to encourage you live a meaningful, artistic life. Join our Costa Rica yoga retreat this February 15 – 21, 2015 at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica. We will eat healthy vegetarian and vegan food, dance, surf, explore and it will all be yoga.


{ 1 comment… add one }

  • chi tung September 14, 2014, 8:16 am

    Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

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