Let’s turn back to our Yoga Sutra guidance. Yoga is moment by moment ability to still the fluctuations of the mind. We transcend the shackles of life situation and free ourselves to experience life. Not exactly a sacrifice when viewed that way! Yet still, we often resist moving toward that. Why? There is a reason they say “yoga is not easy”: Simple, yes. Easy? Well, no, at least not for most of us.
In one way or another, we all have things we tend to cling to which, in our more honest moments, when we put aside rationalisations, we know are not beneficial to us. And yet we persist. So it is perhaps not surprising that the other key ingredient for moving toward this state of inner tranquillity is non-attachment (Sutras 1.12 and 1.15-1.16). Effectively, we try to free our minds from becoming invested in and bound to possessions and status (acquired from past events) but also not consumed with thoughts of future acquisitions and outcomes: We detach from identifying with life situation (see last week’s theme), and instead, fully engage in our life as it is playing out now, in each present moment. Absolutely we can set goals and make plans but with an honest appraisal of how they nourish our life vs. their implications for our life situation.
Our yoga asana practice gives us much opportunity to cultivate this quality of non-attachment. Some will fixate on and become distracted by the end posture, which prevents full attention to the progression toward it. Whether overly keen to “get there”, or reluctant to try, both are removing themselves from being with it as it unfolds and develops, in whatever way. When we open ourselves to every moment and breath as an opportunity to enrich us, we loosen our binds of attachment. Whether it be challenging ourselves further or restoring ourselves with a rest, be present for it. So take a deep breath and dive back into your life.
Ruth teaches yoga in Cheltenham UK, weaving yoga philosophy into the asana practice to help students connect yoga on the mat to their lives off the mat.