Maybe some of you can relate to this scenario:
I set an intention to make a positive change my life. I often affirm: I will meditate more! I will improve my diet! I will live life with a more grateful and open heart! Sometimes, if my will is strong and I am extremely motivated, intentions do grow roots, but many times I find that I get pulled back into old familiar patterns of behavior that do not support the growth that I am seeking. Other times, strong emotions take me by surprise and I find myself re-experiencing the pain of abandonment, rejection or intense fear from the past.
In yoga, these past tendencies are called samskars. They are rooted in the subconscious mind and can rob us of true freedom, by compelling us to respond in a programmed way. The strongest of these tendencies has the potential to undermine our best efforts towards evolution of our consciousness by keeping our energy trapped.
Through the study and practice of yoga we discover that everything, including our bodies, is made of energy. We can feel the difference when our energy is balanced and flowing because we tend to naturally feel joyful and have more uplifting thoughts. In contrast, when we are experiencing something that we perceive as a negative, we can feel it in our physical body if we tune in and become aware. For myself, I may notice a tightness in the throat or chest, a churning in my stomach or a feeling of tension in my head.
These physical symptoms are evidence of stored energy in our nervous system from experiences that were not properly processed and released. This can happen during a trauma – small or large – where the nervous system is simply overwhelmed. This is not a personal failing – it’s just life. Each time these unconscious programs are triggered, we have an opportunity to complete the experience and release the stored energy back into our system. As we work through this process, we regain vitality and the freedom to live with greater love and expansion.
Yoga and meditation can help greatly with dissolving past tendencies and I have personally experienced long running programs removed entirely through my practice. However, there are some deeper issues that I have noticed return again, sometimes after a long period of dormancy.
Last year, I met a yogini and psychologist practicing and teaching Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and this opened a door for deeper healing. EFT works by activating, through tapping, certain pressure points that correspond to the energy channels in the body. While tapping, you work though a script to help bring these past tendencies up from the subconscious mind so that they may be acknowledged and then released. What I discovered is that by using EFT, I could more quickly and easily work through painful patterns. I encourage anyone who may be struggling to give it a try. Although it can be facilitated in a therapy session, it’s also possible to do it on your own through online resources and videos.