So this week has been a week of working on non-attachment and it hasn’t been easy. I’m sitting here at work on my computer because I am thirsty and using work to help me resist the urge for a glass of velvety, red wine. I have to admit I’m second-guessing why I am doing this, but it is only my selfish desire to have what I want that is trying to sabotage my self-discipline and determination. I’m just being real here, and to be completely honest, I booked my Uber ride to the airport 30 minutes earlier to allow for a half hour at the Vino Volo Wine Bar. Yes, tomorrow this week of non-attachment ends, but I’m not returning back to normal. I’ll be stronger, will have persevered and better apt at adopting moderation.
This week of non-attachment hasn’t been all about wine; I’ve done a few things out of character. What I’d like to share is how I have brought the practice of non-attachment to my yoga mat this week. As a student first, I practiced with 3 different teachers this week and brought a non-attached “me” to the mat. For instance, all week I’ve practiced chair pose differently just for the sake of not being attached to my way of doing chair, or how I like doing chair pose. Sometimes a simple adjustment can change our entire experience in the pose. A different variation of chair pose grew on me and got more comfortable the more I did it, as I would suppose most things would.
As a yoga teacher, I taught non-attachment in my yoga class this week. Students’ downdogs were bigger, their bends were different, their chair different, and the movement from back to top and top to back of their mat was different. Things got a little messy and awkward, but things were also discovered, and a little space was created. The asana provided the physical workout, but the practice of non-attachment to their way of doing a pose developed awareness, openness, and even a new way to do it that they now like better.
It is strangely unfamiliar when we do things differently, out of order, or against habit. It is uncomfortable when we are operating outside what we consider to be normal or routine. We get so comfortable, or attached to a feeling of safety or comfort, thinking that things have to be a certain way. We become safe and comfortable in our routines, and we convince ourselves that things have to be this way, or that way, in order to be okay. The truth is, they don’t. Sometimes lurking outside that safe space we created in our brains is opportunity and growth! Redefine okay and learn to be okay with everything not being okay. Now this paragraph was about your yoga practice AND life, so if your mind was reading it and you weren’t applying what you were reading to your yoga practice, then I ask that you go back and re-read this paragraph again with your yoga practice in mind.
When I talk about being okay with everything not being okay, I am not talking about the big stuff like not balancing your checkbook or forgetting to pay your mortgage. I’m also not downplaying organization or efficiency. My point is more about not allowing insignificant things to rattle us, get us worked up and off center. Furthermore, recognizing an attachment, or more importantly, an unhealthy attachment, and simply just taking back your power!
Do you remember in elementary school having an opposite day with your friends? It was playfully challenging even as a child, and now we are serious adults with all of these habits, patterns, routines, and small comfort zones. Like opposite day, I encourage you to try something each day that breaks a pattern or routine, something that pushes the edges of your comfort zone out a little farther. Take a different route home. Do something out of order. Try something new. Or perhaps, just wear your shirt inside out like I did once throughout an entire yoga class, and knowing it was inside out!
Play with the retraining your brain to be okay with everything not being your version of okay. Try a week of practicing non-attachment and see what you discover. When you push that barrier, that self-limiting belief that your way is the only way, you start to find that much of it is about control. Once you give up some control, you will become less rigid, more easy-going, place less importance on insignificance, and might just discover a little more joy in life, and on your yoga mat!