This has been an especially trying week for some reason. The Big Kid is really giving his last few weeks of being a three-nager everything he’s got. He’s been screaming at me. Everything is bothering him – he doesn’t like the music on the radio, the a/c is blowing too hard, he doesn’t want to brush his teeth, his socks are too tight, his socks are too loose, I cut his food all wrong, he’s not tired, he IS tired, he’s hungry, he’s not hungry, “go away, mommy,” “I don’t like you, mommy”…
And every time I hear the whining or the yelling or the complaining, I find my blood pressure start to rise. My energy starts to spike along with him until we’re both frazzled at the ends. I realized in those moments that I was falling into my samskaras — behavioral patterns like the grooves in a record. I was on auto-pilot; the needle kept playing from the same spot. I would get triggered by his tantrum, and I myself would have a tantrum. The cycle was endless. We were both sad and hurt when it was over. As soon as I recognized my behavior, I knew I needed to face my samskara head on. I needed to not let the trigger push me into the pattern.
Samskaras are part of all aspects of our lives. The person who cuts you off on the road can send you into middle fingers and honking. The co-worker who doesn’t follow through on their responsibilities can make you ball your fists in anger and passive aggressively make snide remarks. Whether we react physiologically or emotionally, it serves no one to join in to the crazy.
As soon as we identify our samskaras and the situations that set us into our patterns, we have a choice. We don’t have to let it implode us. We can let the emotion ride out on its own until it dissipates. We can take a time out (or give our kids a time out) to remove ourselves from the crazy-causing situation. We can find another way to address it that isn’t so emotionally charged.
On the mat, we work on our samskaras as well. There are certain poses that conjure up bad feelings or anxiety or awkwardness. (For me, it’s always chair pose!) When we practice and are faced with those moments, we don’t need to let them defeat us. We can grow stronger, more tolerant and less angry by simply stepping out of our samskaras.
60 Minute Sequence: Identifying Samskaras
- Begin on your back, drawing knees into the chest
- Windshield wiper knees side to side
- Supta baddha konasana – hands at heart & belly
- Rock & roll forward to table top
- Vinyasa to Adho mukha/downward dog
- Surya namaskar A x3
- Prayer twist
- Virabhadrasana I –> Vira II –>Reverse warrior –> Utthita parsvokanasana/extended side angle (option to bind)
- Vira II (front of mat), rotate VII back, rotate VII front
- Vira I, prayer hands –> Vira III
- Vinyasa, repeat other side from *
- Tree pose
- Pada hastasana/gorilla
- Malasana, open twists
- Anjanayasana, cactus arms
- Ardha hanumanasana –> Anjanayasana
- Lizard pose
- Baddha konasana
- Janu sirsasana A –> Stargazer
- Seated twist
- Tonglen meditation
- Final supine poses