One Word Two Ways: Impression

Every week, we pick a word and each do a post on that word. This weeks word is impression.

After reading the Kite Runner, my impression of Afghanistan changed. I saw a different perspective and point of view. In some ways, my interest of it intensified as I realized I did not know enough about this country. This video shows a different perspective of this beautiful country and its people.

I love Bill Hader. His impressions are hilarious and he always has me laughing out loud. I love this impression he does of Rick Perry, its just too much.

“Arguably, the core of our yoga practice is the work that we do to purify, reforge, and replace the inner patterns that in Sanskrit are called samskaras. Samskaras are the accumulated impressions—in scientific terms, the neuronal patterns—that create our character, our ways of thinking and acting, and our perspective on life.

The word samskara can be translated just the way it sounds in English: as “some scars.” Samskaras are energy patterns in our consciousness. I always picture them as mental grooves, like the rivulets in sand that let water run in certain patterns. Samskaras create our mental, emotional, and physical default settings.


(photo found here)

The tendency to think “I can’t do this” when you’re faced with a new challenge is a samskara, and so is the confidence that develops once you’ve mastered something that was hard for you. The tension lump that shows up in your right shoulder when you feel stressed is a samskara, and so are the song lyrics that pop into your mind unexpectedly and—in my case at least—often reveal themselves to be the perfect comment on the situation that you’re in at the time.

Neurophysiologists mapping neural pathways in the brain report that each time we react in a certain way—getting angry, for instance, or procrastinating yet one more time—we strengthen the power of that pathway. The yogic texts make the same point. The bottom line in each case is that the way we feel, the way we react, and the behavior we manifest at any given moment are the result of samskaras, or neural connections, operating under the surface.

Once the samskaric pathways have been set, most people just keep running down them, like rats in a maze, reacting with the same old patterns and feelings every time they find themselves in a situation that seems to mirror whatever the original trigger might have been…

…The brain is so fluid and malleable, so prone to take and hold impressions, that when we keep leading it into new pathways, the accumulation of new insights, practices, and experiences will eventually overwhelm the old ones and, given the right circumstances, even eliminate them entirely.”

(via Yoga Journal by By Sally Kempton)

13 comments
  1. mom said:

    Lauren, That is the clearest definition of samskaras I’ve read. You are right, these are real impressions that control every aspect of what we do…over and over again.

  2. Linda Rahal said:

    Wanted to watch the SNL video but it says it is blocked by NBC Universal on copyright laws. Have to look it up on You tube. Interesting, insightful and thought provoking. Like your website! Linda R.

  3. Love reading this explication of samskaras or impressions. Thanks for a great post,… both of them.

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