“It’s not the work that is hard, it’s the discipline” – Unknown
It’s no secret that I’ve been on a massive personal inner journey these past few years. I am proud to say that in many respects I don’t identify with the old version of ‘me’ and sometimes I’m not sure who this new ‘me’ is either. It’s all an exciting journey.
All I knew when I started my healing and yoga journey was that I wanted to break certain patterns of behaviour, heal generational trauma and live more freely and authentically. I had never heard of the yogic term ‘samskara’ but now know it to be akin to the term ‘stuck in a rut’. In yoga and in life these ‘ruts’ can hold us back. It is true that we can find ourselves unconsciously stuck in some of these ‘ruts’, even when they are painful to us. I think as humans we are hard-wired to seek safety and even when those patterns do not serve us, we have the tendency to cling to them despite the continual cycle of suffering they create because a) change is hard and b) change represents the unknown. We are a society driven by the tangible and guided by societal norms and to step out of that lane is scary. Although not all samksaras or ‘ruts’ are negative. Some unconscious habits we do need, like taking your make up off before bedtime 🙂
Working with a samkara is akin to a brain surgeon doing a deep operation of the mind; it’s a critical and complex procedure requiring thought and awareness. Moreover, letting go or restructuring a habit of the mind to make way for change requires discipline. In yoga, Patanjali’s second of the eight limbs of yoga refers to this discipline as ‘Tapas’ or ‘austerity’. It sounds harsh but nothing we do in yoga is meant to be done with severity. Yes there will be some suffering along the way but ultimately it is done with love. We want to improve our lives. If it was easy, it would teach you nothing about yourself.
On the mat, each pose should test you a little bit. Take you to the edge. Help you understand what you are and all that you can be. Off the mat, the test is usually the battle with your inner voice. For example, you want to start your practice before work. You set the alarm for 5am and the inner battle starts. You want to get up but pressing snooze is so much easier.
For me, I have found that the discipline I have on the mat gradually works its way off the mat. For the last 18 months I have set my alarm for 5am and the days I make it to my mat (I’m not perfect either!) I feel mentally and physically ‘purer’. What I have noticed is my eating habits have changed and my outlook on life has too. I am much more positive and brighter.
So this month, just roll out your mat for 5 mins a day and start there.