The Yoga Tutor

Samaskaras - Subconscious Conditioning

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 456 ]

At the heart of yoga psychology lays the concept of samskara, which I have already briefly introduced to you in some previous sections. The comprehension of this yogic concept is fundamental to the yogic approach to mental health and the deeper understanding of ourselves.

Samskaras are conditioned, patterned behaviours. This conditioning is firmly rooted in our subconscious, which is also called the chitta. These conditionings are what cause us to react and to respond to any and all external stimulus in an automatic and habitual way.

However, these responses of ours may not necessarily be correct, or rather, they may not be based upon proper perception or correct understanding. They are merely how we have been conditioned to react; conditioned to view things; conditioned to think; all as a result of a whole host of cultural and societal influences that we have encountered while growing up and while engaging in our society throughout our lives. It is told that these samskaras can even remain through successive incarnations.

Most of us largely move through life in automatic fashion. We engage in much of our day-to-day activities (routines) with little or no conscious thought. We are on auto-pilot so-to-speak, with the occasional external stimulation which calls our conscious attention to the forefront.

Much of how we perceive the world around us, many of the attitudes and opinions that we hold, and many of the responses to situations, people, ideas and events are a direct result of conditioning, and quite often this very conditioning is based upon misunderstanding, incomplete information and often erroneous views.


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world 
... It is indeed a masterful work."


Dr. John Michael Christian


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