By: Danielle Wilson
Non-attachment has caught my attention this week. As I reread through the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I find myself pondering his thoughts on desire and the ways in which our ego’s wants and needs can hinder the growth that is meant to happen on our mats. We are continuously conjuring up an ongoing narrative in our heads about what we have, what we don’t, and what we should. Whether these notions are based around physical possessions, relationships, achievements in our career or in our practice, or all of the above, they are attachments which inevitably hold us back from discovering the beauty that lies in the space beyond.
In yoga, I think a common attachment of the ego Self lives in outcome. This can manifest in a desire for a specific feeling post-savasana, a certain level of strength and flexibility in a given pose, or the expectation that whatever results we’re blessed with will remain in permanence throughout our day, week, or life. On the plus side, when we actually do fulfill these attachments as planned, we feel great! We walk away from our mat feeling confident and validated. Unfortunately, the high of met expectations only lasts so long, and can never be depended upon every time we show up to practice.
The only true outcome that exists for us is the one that ends up happening—whatever that may be. I realize that can be the most frustrating sentiment, but it’s the truth! If we release ourselves of the other outcomes we attach our worth and time to, and simply commit to showing up with an open heart and mind, our spirit will do the rest of the work. This place of freedom allows us to connect deeper with how our practice feels rather than where it’s going. Acute awareness begins to set in, and with that comes endless discoveries we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise! Breath becomes oceanic, limbs become weightless, and the sensations of being alive are welcomed to the forefront of our focus. It is in this space we find the depth and growth yoga is capable of providing.
Imagine remaining disciplined in the non-attachment you hold for your practice: opening yourself up to the idea of any outcome being the one you need in that moment allows for the celebration of both your biggest feats and stumbles. Every practice, every movement, every breath is cherished just as much as the last and given that our mat serves as a mirror for life, we set out into the world more attuned to the intricate, and infinite, beauty it offers.
What outcomes have you built attachment around in your practice? How does the fulfillment, or lack thereof, of this expected outcome make you feel as you leave the studio and walk back into life? What interesting and mysterious places would you find yourself in if you released these outcomes from your grip for one class? One week? One month?! Give it a try. I promise you, the “worst” that can happen is you leave feeling a little lighter, nicer to yourself, and excited for all the outcomes and adventures you’d been missing out on all along.