As a yoga teacher, I try to constantly evolve in my practice, which does not stop the second I step off my mat. As I mentioned before, yoga is more than a physical practice (see TIP TUESDAY: Myths vs Facts About Yoga). It translates to how you live your daily life, which can be incredibly hard, even for me. The best way to describe this translation is from the Yoga Sutras 1.12-1.16: Practice and Non-Attachment. Practice and non-attachment are the two core principles on which the system of yoga rests. These two work hand-in-hand, with non-attachment as the essential companion to practice. What does this all mean?
Non-attachment is essentially learning to let go of attachments, fears, aversions and false identities, which can cause you to be side-tracked. When we hold onto these attachments during a yoga practice, it prevents us from progressing, causing us to get “stuck”. For example, I spent more than a year trying to get into a headstand – without success. When I was in my yoga teacher’s training, I knew it was inevitable that I would have to face it, especially since we were spending an entire Sunday’s session on it! During that session, I again struggled. My teacher finally said that I had to do it even if it meant rolling over. So, I gave it another try and rolled over. I thought that was the end of it. To my displeasure, he wanted me to keep going. That is when the waterfall of tears started. The release of emotion felt surprisingly freeing. It was what I needed and yes, I was successful.
So how does this apply to daily life? One of my students that has been taking my yoga class for the last four months, commented how he is less crabby since coming to yoga. I turned and asked his wife to see if this was true. She just smiled and said, “Yes”. They both said they go about life much differently. Amazing, is it not? Allowing yourself to focus on your internal senses during yoga, rather than your external senses, you can learn to let it go (see TIP TUESDAY: Awareness Thru the Internal Senses), allowing you to listen to your body to hold a posture rather than using your mind. This awareness translates to daily life, whether it is walking or remaining calm during a stressful commute.
We all have our habits and familiarities, whether it is a daily routine or favorite instructor. When that changes, we get upset. Or we allow ourselves to dwell on upsetting situations. It is also easy to attach to something of material value. Why? This provides happiness and it is much easier than dealing with what the real issue may be. By learning to let go, we allow ourselves to grow without dwelling. By re-directing your focus and learning how to accept an undesirable outcome, we can channel positive energy!