How Yoga Changed Me: Eileen Barbour

Samskaras are changes in your patterns of thinking. I first heard of Samskaras in a New Year’s Day warm vinyasa class. As a recovering alcoholic, New Year’s Day was not always a good time for me.

I was often trapped in the regretful prison of my mind. Remembering—or worse, not remembering—what happened the night before. Anxiety and regret permeated my mind and body. It was exhausting. I would pledge never to let it happen again. But of course, the next opportunity came along, and I jumped right back in, those opportunities came closer and closer together. I was raised in an alcoholic family where dependency and codependency were the normal coping behavior. When I went out into the world, I was quite surprised to find people who did not use alcohol as a way of life.

By the time I took that New Year’s Day class, I had been practicing yoga for a few years and had been sober for 10 years. Through the help of therapy and family support, I was living a very happy sober life. I enjoyed the physical practice of yoga, but I had not come to understand the value of the body, mind and spirit coming together as one on the mat. Also, the glorious ability to take these experiences of the mat into your everyday life.  I began to read more of the spiritual side of yoga and was attracted to the idea of Samskaras.

Samskaras reflect the emotional experiences and mental patterns of your life. They give you an opportunity for self-study, Svadhaya. I was able to address my traumatic experiences and focus on creating clearer emotional paths for myself. I was able to encourage more spiritual and peaceful grooves in my brain that led to a peaceful coexistence in this world of turbulence. I am able to stay in the present more frequently and avoid the old anxieties of the past. Not always successful, but yoga and life are a journey, and I learned that fun is in the journey that is filled with faith, hope and love.

The teacher who taught that New Year’s Day class became my yogi and guided me and ten other sweet souls through teacher training last year. Jen gave me the insight and the knowledge that I now share with others. Hopefully, I can make a small difference in their lives. Namasté.

Eileen Barbour