Practice and Non-Attachment

February 28, 2019 12:32 am Published by 1 Comment

Like most parents, I remember when my son took his very first steps. He was so keen and focused that the moment was charged with electricity. There was no destination. There wasn’t pride with each step or fall. It was magic experienced fully.

We can’t become toddlers again but through our Yoga practice we can relearn how to fully experience the present moment with a child-like curiosity without attachments of fears or inhibitions we developed into our adult life.

Throughout BKS Iyengar’s classes, writings and speeches, he consistently emphasized the relationship between Practice and Non-Attachment. Practice he writes “builds confidence and refinement in the process of culturing the consciousness, whereas {non-attachment} is the elimination of whatever hinders progress and refinement.” Essentially, through practice and non-attachment we explore what is beyond our learned fears to fully experience a freedom to rest in a quiet state of becoming.

Periodically I ask students why they keep returning to class. In the beginning, the answers come easily…” I want to become fit and limber, to relax etc.” However, as the years go by and we continue to practice, the answers become less concrete. There is joy when our bodies become strong and supple and our minds become quiet. It can feel as though the horizons inside us expand and we become filled with light, but the dynamic nature of our becoming is further strengthened through a deeper understanding of non-attachment. However, sometimes we may even become attached to an underlying story we tell our self about our practice.

Sometime ago, I lost the ability to kick up with my right leg into handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana). The more I practiced, the less I had success and the more upset I became. My judgements taught me that I don’t care if I ever go up into handstand, but I continued to practice building a strength and awareness in my body. And then, one day, in the beginning of class, the very first pose called was handstand. Without thought, I kicked up with my right leg.

Our yoga practice encourages us to notice our attachments and the ties that we bind ourselves to. It teaches us to loosen our grip on our perceived ideals and goals so that we can awaken to the present moment and experience it fully as is. The practice has the potential to return us to our innate child-like curiosity to explore the play between our bodies, minds and breath.

We may fall or get attached to a story from within our practice. There may be pain when injuries or expectations surface. We may question the practice and/or our capacity. Many may shut down or turn away from the practice, but our resolve must remain strong. When we choose to stay with the practice, deeper truths are revealed. We start to notice our shifting emotions and our ever-changing desires. We become curious and embark on the long and winding path that is a spiritual practice. We question our original truths and goals and our reality expands.

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This post was written by Sonia Shaeri

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