Practicing physical yoga is an opportunity to notice, to observe, and to recognize our patterns. These patterns may exist as habits in our body, breath, mind, or emotions. They are often subconscious or hidden as they are caused by repetition in our day to day living, and our practice allows them to come up to the surface so that we can see them in the light.

Why is this important?

We can only shift patterns that we know exist. We can only choose a different path if we know which one we are currently on. We can only create new habits by determinedly yet compassionately loosening the hold of the old ones that don’t serve us; then the new ones have space to develop.

In Sanskrit the word ‘samskara’ refers to these patterns or habits, and even more specifically it refers to the fact that these patterns and habits are often knotted and painful, causing us suffering in body, breath, mind, or emotions. When we begin to release these knots and unravel the habits that are (un)consciously hurting us, only then do we have the opportunity to practice more seamless, fluid, and life-affirming patterns both on and off the mat.