A Yogini’s Lesson in Non- Attachment

What things in life are you attached to?

Perhaps your home, your partner or your favorite food?

We become attached to someone or something present in our lives because it serves us in some way.  It feels good when we have it.  We miss it when it’s gone.  We think about it when it’s not there.  It becomes part of our identity and deep down, we fear we wouldn’t be complete without it in our lives.  However, attachment can be dangerous when our happiness depends on the state or existence of an external factor because it is out of our control.

I admit that I am completely attached to my favorite yoga class.

Yesterday, overwhelming sadness tugged at my heart while I practiced in this particular studio for the last time until mid-January.  The energy cultivated inside the studio regularly grounds and calms me as well as brings immense joy and inner peace to my body and mind.  Our yoga instructor, Oscar, has a magical way that he brings us all together to feel as one during our practice.

He gently thanks us for being there and invites us to spend the next hour completely with ourselves; to let the thoughts and anxieties fade to the back of our minds and simply be present.  An inward smile is my automatic response to his words.

When he asks us to imagine our thoughts like balloons, slowly drifting into the back of our consciousness, they do with ease.  Together, we honor each person in the room to share our practice and we are gently reminded that this is not a competition; rather, it is our own personal journey and not to worry about anyone else but ourselves.  Thus, I feel a great sense of support and comfort, and I easily give myself permission to silence my inner critic.  Every pose, on each side, on every day of practice is different — and it is absolutely ok — just the way it is.

Clearly, something magical created in that class.  But with the recent realization of my attachment, it makes me dig deeper and I discover something interesting.  I am not necessarily attached to the class and the yoga instructor.

Rather, I am attached to the feeling elicited within me of non-judgment, support and acceptance during practice.  When I think about it in this way, I realize I am the one in control.  It’s almost as if Oscar and the other yogis are a catalyst for what I truly cultivate within myself.

With this realization I am back in control of my attitude and feelings.  Suddenly I know that I don’t need the class, I just need to continue the practice within myself!  Bam: motivation is there.

In a way, non-attachment is a mindful action that pulls us away, almost above a situation, person or thing and feel love toward it but not a neediness to satisfy our ego’s desires.  Here, we are still 100% involved but not attached to a particular outcome.

An important key to remember is that attachment is only an illusion.  Now that I know what it takes to get to my “happy place,” I commit to doing it on my own for the next three weeks.  I could use some of the phrases and terminology that make me feel so delightful.  Things get hectic during the holidays but I can always find 20 minutes to peace out.

Only time will tell how the next few weeks go.  I am human and am bound to feel the pangs of attachment rather than the empowerment and contentment of non-attachment.  For example, when I think about class right now, I miss it.  Clearly I am still attached.  But that’s ok – I am aware of this fact, accept it as being true for myself and then just as quickly I move on.

With a plan in place for how I am going to handle missing my yoga groove, I am not dreading being away any longer.  Instead, I am curious to find out what tools speak to me during the moments of my solo practice, what I remember and what asanas, pranyama or meditation serve me in that moment.  Just thinking about it feels like freedom and a sense of being in control.

And that makes me happy.