Non-attachment: The Yoga Practice That Keeps On Coming

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I am sure that every yogi with a blog has written about the topic of non-attachment. The concept comes from the Yamas and Niyamas, which are the ethical guidelines laid out in the 8 limbed path of yoga. You can think of them as the dos and don’ts of the yogic lifestyle. Aparigraha, or non-attachment, refers to our fixation on the outcomes of our efforts. We are all raised to want the gold star, am I right?

So this is the basic concept: we work for the experience not for the reward. But I recently found myself in a situation where non-attachment seemed to come easily. If you have been following me, you know the studio I manage is relocating. We are nearing the finish line and are reopening this Friday. I will be teaching the first class in the new studio. And I really believed that, because of all the work I had put into the move, I deserved to teach that first class. No one, save maybe my bosses, deserved to teach that class more than me.

But then family obligations came up. It is no longer a guarantee I will be in DC on Friday to teach that class — the class that is so rightfully mine to teach. And I felt surprisingly ok with that outcome. I was accepting that it might not be “my class” that is the first to happen in the new space. The shift in my life’s priorities made me realize how silly I had been acting. I will teach many classes in the new studio. Some will be great. Others will be off. The first is only significant because I have attached a meaning to it.

When I look at the journey to opening the new studio, I can see just how influential this time will be on me as a person and as a professional. I boast of how I learned to calculate the size of HVAC system a space needs based on use. I have learned about commercial real estate (particularly in DC). I have also learned how detail-oriented construction managers are. Why yes, I did approve the size and swing of every door in the studio. Most importantly, this experience has taught me that I am stronger, more level-headed, and more steadfast than I ever thought possible.

None of those qualities will change if I don’t teach the first class. The journey to opening the new space isn’t any less meaningful. But that does not mean I have mastered Aparigraha. I have only released my attachment because of competing life priorities that have given me some perspective. There is a reason all yogis blog about their attachments. It is a lesson that comes around, and around, and around…