Avoiding Suffering by Breaking Samskaras
Those of you who have been practicing with me for a while know that I believe yoga is a practice of developing self-awareness. Through the practice of yoga, we cultivate the ability to see ourselves more clearly. We slowly begin to uncover and understand our habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. In yogic philosophy, these patterns and habits are called samskaras.
Everything we do — every action we take, move we make, thought we think — leaves an impression, a samskara, on our minds and bodies. As yoga teacher David Yglesias puts it:
“Samskaras are like ruts on a muddy road. The more the wheel travels over them, the deeper the groove gets and the harder it is for the wheel, like our emotional tendencies, to break free from them.”
But there's good news: Knowledge is power! The more we can see our latent patterns, the easier it is to understand where they come from, how we deepen those grooves, and how to break free from them. It is said that samskaras are the root of all self-inflicted suffering and as the Yoga Sutras wisely states, “Future suffering is to be avoided.”
Saying Goodbye to Saturdays
So what does this have to do with my classes? I’ve made the very difficult decision to give up my Saturday 4:30pm class at Avalon.
I realize now that I’ve been talking a lot about suffering... but I want to assure you that I love the Saturday class. It is the opposite of suffering. It was the first class I took on at Avalon and it has been a place of pure joy for me over the past year and a half. I have loved practicing with all of you who attend the class. Which is why this decision was very hard to make.
It came down to recognizing the samskaras I keep that are no longer serving me and making the choice to change those patterns. I’m giving up something great in the hope of gaining something even better — in a word: weekends. I’m hoping this will help me find a better balance between work and life and that I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.
I will be teaching the class one last time on Saturday, April 11th and I hope you’ll join me if you’re able. Starting April 18th, Avalon’s Josie Zhuo will be taking over the class with great success, I’m sure!
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported this class over the past year and a half. I hope I’ll see you in my other classes (see my schedule below) or that I’ll have an opportunity to visit you on Saturdays — by subbing on occasion or taking the class with you!