One of the gifts of the yoga practice is how it brings up many of our hidden, subconscious, subtle impressions, called samskaras, which have been stored in the body for many lifetimes, which can cause us to feel stuck. When we are trapped in negative and destructive emotions, relationship patterns, eating habits and other addictive tendencies, it is due to negative samskaras in our psyche. Samskaras comprise all of our past conditioning and are repetitive in nature.
When negative past samskaras arise during the yoga practice, we often feel a strong upsurge of emotion. It may come in the form of anger, frustration, fear, despair, tears, or laughter. Whatever it is, it is best to allow these emotions to surface, without trying to repress or hold them back. In this way, we can heal and release old, outdated modes of thinking, behavior and emotional patterns that no longer serve us.
The daily practice of yoga and meditation itself build their own samskaras: positive repetitive mental and emotional impressions to replace those which we don’t need and harm those around us as well.
I think one of the most beautiful emotional experiences is the meeting of tears and laughter. I love this poem of Kahlil Gibran’s and how it speaks to this sacred meeting place…
“The Beauty of Life”
It is my fervent hope
that my whole life on this earth
will ever be . . .
. . . tears and laughter.
. . . tears that purify my heart
and reveal to me
the secret of life . . .
. . . and its mystery . . .
. . . laughter that brings me
to my fellow men . . .
. . . tears with which I join
. . . laughter that symbolizes joy
over my very existence.