Change Your Patterns, Change your life!
Just about everyone suffers from addiction in their own unique way. The negative habits and addictive behaviors we get stuck in can manifest in many different ways. You don’t have to be using drugs or alcohol to have an addiction. According to addiction recovery expert and yoga teacher Tommy Rosen, addiction is really “Any behavior you continue to do despite the fact it brings negative consequences into your life.”
It doesn’t matter what it is! Things like: Food, self doubt, and judgement can all become addictions. What matters is that we discover there is a solution!
How do we escape the hampster wheel of doing the same thing over and over and always expecting different results?
According to my teacher Deepak Chopra “our minds our kept active by constantly cycling through three stages & because this is the nature of our minds activity, we often get stuck behaving in predictable ways.”
In the first stage of this 3 stage cycle, our mind registers the impressions of it’s memories. Known in Sanskrit as Samskaras, we repeatedly cycle through these impressions that make up our conditioning. Samskaras can be both positive and negative, and at their core they are the impressions on our mind that our repeated habits create.
Because of this cycle, the mind moves into the next stage where it creates a desire to either engage or not to engage in the experience that lead to the memory.
This desire then leads to the last stage, which is to make a choice to take some kind of action based on our desire. As a result of this action, our mind registers new memories which causes this cycle to repeat itself and can often lead us to get stuck in self destructive patterns.
So…how bad do you want to be free?
Well, in order to free ourselves from our negative habits, we have to learn how to bring awareness to the choices we are making. If we don’t learn how to pause and respond rather than react, we will just end up behaving in the same old conditioned ways. This is where yoga and meditation come into play!
When we meditate and engage in yoga asana we momentarily quiet the incessant activity of our minds and experience physical relaxation. Both meditation and asana aid in the progressive settling down of our minds into stillness and as a result of the peace gained from a regular practice, we in turn, become less reactive. Thus we become more conscious choice makers and have the potential to free ourselves from our negative habitual behaviors, because our decisions start coming from a more tranquil less reactive mind.
In the end, breaking our old patterns and escaping this cycle of behavior is not easy! However, there is a way out! Through the inner quietness we establish in these practices, we are able to pause, make more conscious choices, and escape our negative habitual patterns.
As Aristotle once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” When we change our patterns, we change our life and learning how to pause is the first step to cultivating this change. Repeating samskaras reinforces them and it is through yoga and meditations ability to expand the space between our thoughts that we will be able to consider the consequences of our choices before making them!
To learn more join Ingrid Jaegar and I at this years 2018 Love Yoga Fest for our “Change Your Patterns, Change Your Life” workshop as we explore the role meditation and yoga play in overcoming negative habits and addictive behaviors.