By Luigi Lungo CYT 250
My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when she was 85. Within two years, she was in a general ward of a nursing home and then in their dementia unit. Luckily for her and the family, the disease has not progressed quickly, and her only symptoms are short-term memory loss and slowness of thoughts. Amazingly, however, is that a side effect of the disease appears to be a ‘removal’ of her past conditioning, making her a more loving and less troubled person! I believe that she and all those around her are happier now.
Pattern of Conditioning
We are all products of varying degrees of our past conditioning. I know I am. I grew up in a household where our mother wore pants and ruled with an iron fist. Friends did not want to visit, and we were continually criticized and chastised. All three children left home before they turned 20.
It wasn’t until I visited my mother’s European village and met her sisters that I realised they were all like mum. They were all a product of their strict upbringing. Those that do not question their behaviour go on to perpetuate the problem.
Others, however, have seen the pattern of conditioning and sought to rectify it through therapy, self-help groups, and Yoga. Yoga has helped me to identify my past conditioning and steered me away from that path.
Donna Farhi expresses it beautifully in her book ‘Bringing Yoga To Life’ when she says:
“When we’re witnessing from this neutral, non-presumptive place, the “me” is absent – the me being whatever collection of things I have stockpiled to make up my identity (which itself is created through another subset of assumptions). This assumed identity consists of opinions, judgments, likes, dislikes, narcissistic imaginings, and largely unconscious conditioning.
The process we call Yoga is one of deconstruction – removing these assumed identities. More accurately, the assumed identities cease to operate. Because the “me” that is usually the culprit in creating this mess in the first place is being deconstructed through the practice of Yoga, over time, the superimposed identities fall away of their own accord.”
It has often been said that Yoga is not just the practice of postures or asanas. It is a multi-layered practice taking in not only asana but the other limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga system. This holistic approach to Yoga allows the ‘deconstruction’ process described by Donna Farhi, which will peel away the layers of conditioning to reveal the true you.
This is akin to the dusty mirror that reflects a distorted view. The clear reflective mirror has always been there but has been covered with the dust of conditioning. Sometimes over many years. With Yoga, we wipe clean the mirror, and the true you or self is reflected.
It is a pleasure to visit my mother weekly with my wife and three young children. We are greeted by a beautiful happy woman who is not tormented by anger; jealousy; shame, or bitterness but who is content and joyful. Her disease has removed the layers of her 80 + years of conditioning.
We don’t need to wait for some organic change within our brains to reveal our true loving selves. Through Yoga, we can start deconstructing our conditioning irrespective of the number of layers involved, and we can be happier. Also, we can make those around us more content.
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Removal of Conditioning with Yoga
By Gopi Rao, Kimaya Singh, and Faye Martins
Are you tired of feeling stuck in the same patterns and habits? Do you find yourself reacting to situations without even thinking about them? You may be experiencing the effects of conditioning on your mind. But don’t worry; yoga can help remove this conditioning and open up new possibilities for creativity and growth. In this blog post, we’ll explore how yoga can break down the limitations imposed by our past experiences and beliefs, leading to a more authentic and fulfilling life. Get ready to embrace your true self as we delve into the removal of conditioning with yoga!
What is Conditioning of the Mind?
The conditioning of the mind refers to the process by which our experiences, beliefs, and cultural influences shape our perception of reality. From a young age, we are bombarded with messages about who we should be and how we should behave. These ideas become deeply ingrained in our psyche and influence how we view ourselves and others.
Conditioning can take many forms, from societal norms about gender roles to personal traumas that leave lasting scars on our psyches. It can also manifest as limiting beliefs that hold us back from pursuing our goals or taking risks.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect of conditioning is that it often operates unconsciously. We may not realize how much past experiences influence our thoughts and actions until we examine them more closely.
Yet, there is hope! By becoming aware of these patterns and learning tools like yoga to break them down, we can free ourselves from the limitations imposed by conditioning. The following sections explore how yoga can help remove this conditioning.
How Does Yoga Remove Conditioning?
Yoga is a powerful practice that can help remove conditioning from the mind. Yoga allows individuals to become more self-aware and mindful, which helps them break free from their conditioned behavior patterns.
Through asanas or physical postures, yoga helps individuals release tension stored in their bodies. This increases circulation and oxygenation, resulting in a clear and focused mind. Practicing pranayama, or breath control, enhances this process by bringing awareness to one’s breathing pattern.
Meditation is another essential aspect of yoga that enables individuals to observe their thoughts without judgment. Through meditation, yogis learn to detach themselves from negative thinking patterns and develop positive mental habits.
Yogic philosophy teaches us about non-attachment or vairagya, which encourages us not to cling to our past experiences or beliefs but rather embrace change with open arms. By practicing detachment through yoga, we can let go of our limiting beliefs and conditioning that hold us back from living life fully.
Yoga works on multiple levels; it brings physical and mental awareness while promoting healthy practices for overall well-being.
Dangers of Limited Conditioning
When we talk about conditioning, it’s important to note that there can be both positive and negative aspects of being conditioned. However, in some cases, having a limited or narrow mindset can be dangerous. When our minds are rigidly fixed on a particular way of thinking or doing things, we limit ourselves from exploring different possibilities.
One danger of limited conditioning is that it can lead to closed-mindedness. If we’re only exposed to one way of thinking or living our lives, we may resist new ideas or perspectives. This can ultimately hinder personal growth and prevent us from experiencing the full range of what life offers.
Another danger is that limiting our experiences and exposure can also negatively impact relationships with others who may have different beliefs or backgrounds than us. We may struggle to understand their point of view due to lacking direction and failure to build meaningful connections.
In summary, while some forms of conditioning are necessary for survival in society – limited training poses significant risks, such as stunting personal growth and hindering social interactions. Through yoga practices like mindfulness meditation which aim to expand awareness beyond preconceived notions, individuals become more open-minded, leading them towards personal development, thereby overcoming these dangers associated with limited conditioning.
What are Samskaras?
Samskaras are the mental impressions left behind by our experiences and actions. These impressions shape our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, often without realizing it. They can be positive or negative, depending on the nature of the experience or action.
Over time, these samskaras become deeply ingrained in our psyche and influence how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. They can limit our potential for growth and creativity if we allow them to dictate our thoughts and actions.
Yoga offers a way to identify these samskaras through self-reflection and mindfulness practices such as meditation. By becoming aware of them, we can understand their impact on our lives and make conscious choices about responding to situations that trigger them.
Through consistent practice of yoga asanas (physical postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), one can access more profound levels of consciousness where samskaras may be released. This allows for greater thought-process clarity, freeing up space for more creative thinking patterns.
By acknowledging and addressing these samskaras through yoga practice, one has a better chance at overcoming limiting beliefs or negative patterns that hold us back from living an authentic life filled with creative expression!
The Good and Bad of a Conditioned Mindset
A conditioned mindset can have both positive and negative effects on our lives. On the one hand, it allows us to develop habits and routines that benefit our physical and mental well-being. For example, regularly practicing yoga or meditation can become a part of our daily routine thanks to conditioning.
However, conditioning also has its downsides. It limits our ability to think outside the box and explore new ideas or perspectives. We tend to stick with what we know and are comfortable with rather than taking risks and trying something new.
Moreover, a conditioned mindset often leads to conformity, making it difficult for individuals to express their unique identities or beliefs. This could lead to groupthink, where individuals blindly follow the opinions of others without questioning them.
It’s vital for us as individuals to recognize when we’re being limited by our conditioning so that we can break free from those limitations and embrace creativity in all aspects of life. Doing so opens us up to endless possibilities while reaping the benefits of having certain routines in place.
Understanding Satya is a crucial aspect of yoga philosophy. It refers to the practice of truthfulness and honesty in all aspects of life, including thoughts, actions, and speech. Satya means living an authentic life that aligns with one’s true nature.
When conditioned by society or our limiting beliefs, we often hide behind masks, not fully expressing our true selves. However, when we practice Satya through yoga and meditation practices such as self-reflection and mindfulness, we can recognize these patterns and peel away the conditioning layers.
It takes courage to be truthful both with oneself and others. Honesty requires vulnerability and empowers us to live more authentically in every area of our lives. Practicing Satya helps us live with integrity which is essential for mental health.
Furthermore, embracing Satya without judgment or criticism towards yourself or others allows creativity within you to flow more easily because insecurities or inner conflicts don’t cloud your mind.
Ultimately understanding Satya is about embracing who you are rather than trying to fit into someone else’s idea of what they think you should be.
How to Identify Illusion
Identifying illusions is an essential aspect of removing conditioning with yoga. Misconceptions can keep us trapped in limited beliefs and prevent us from seeing things as they are.
One way to identify illusion is by examining our thoughts and beliefs. We often hold onto ideas that may not necessarily be true, but we have accepted them because we were conditioned to believe them. We can see past the illusions by questioning these beliefs and exploring different perspectives.
Another way to identify illusion is through mindfulness practices such as meditation. When we quiet our minds and focus on our breath, we become more aware of the present moment. This allows us to detach from our thoughts and emotions, often creating illusions.
We can also identify illusions by examining how they make us feel. If a belief or thought creates tension or discomfort within us, it may indicate some underlying illusion at play.
By learning to identify illusions, we can break free from limited conditioning and embrace a more open-minded perspective that allows growth and creativity in all aspects of life.
Preparing the Mind for Creativity
Yoga is not only great for physical health but also mental wellness. One of the most significant benefits of yoga is how it helps to cultivate creativity. When we are creative, we can develop innovative ideas and solutions that can change our lives.
Sit down comfortably and focus on your breath. This will help clear your mind of any distractions and bring you to the present moment.
Next, try simple yoga poses such as a downward dog or child’s pose to release tension from your body. As you move through these postures, take deep breaths, inhaling positive energy and exhaling negativity.
Once you feel relaxed and centered, start visualizing what you want to create or achieve. Focus on this vision until it becomes vivid in your mind’s eye.
Trust yourself and let go of any doubts or fears arising during the process. Remember that there are no right or wrong answers to being creative; stay open-minded and embrace new possibilities!
Meditations to Embrace Creativity
Meditation is an effective way to remove conditioning and embrace creativity. Meditation can help you tap into your innermost thoughts, ideas, and inspirations.
To Begin Meditating
Sit comfortably with your back straight and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths to calm your mind.
Focus on the present moment and let go of distracting thoughts or worries. Imagine yourself in a peaceful setting such as a beach or forest. Let the sounds, smells, and sensations surround you.
Visualize yourself engaged in creative activities such as painting or writing. Allow yourself to feel free from judgment or criticism as you explore new ideas and concepts.
As you meditate regularly for creativity, notice how these insights spill over into other areas of your life. You may find that you are more open-minded, spontaneous, and willing to take risks personally and professionally.
Regularly embracing this openness through meditation can move beyond our limited conditioning towards greater self-awareness, inspiration, and limitless possibilities!
Yoga is an effective way to remove conditioning from the mind and embrace creativity. It allows individuals to identify their samskaras and understand the good and bad of a conditioned mindset. Practicing satya (truthfulness) makes identifying illusions that limit their potential more accessible.
By preparing our minds through meditation and embracing creativity, we allow ourselves to break free from limited conditioning and explore new possibilities. Yoga offers us a way to tap into our full potential as human beings by removing limiting beliefs that can hold us back.
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