Sincerely Carolina

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the art of non-attachment

by caroline

I can’t even remember the last time I built a sandcastle at the beach! From what I recall, I worked diligently to build a sturdy and beautiful structure. All the while, knowing that the waves would likely come to lap my hard work into the ocean. What makes a sandcastle so special is that it is ephemeral- fleeting. Building a sandcastle is a huge practice in non-attachment, because you invest yourself whole-heartedly in the process and ultimately you must let go of the results.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes this as abyasa (practice) and vairagya (non-attachment). On our mats, it is rewarding to practice earnestly, without interruption, and for a substantial chunk of time. This is what sets us on the path of discovery. In the process, we learn how to let go of our attachments, aversions, fears, and misconceptions that cloud our perception.

When I first started practicing handstand, it took me a good bajillion kicks before I learned how to enter into the pose. I was so attached to the result of getting up into the pose, that I missed the necessary steps along the way. In practicing handstand, I learned that the journey wasn’t in “getting there,” but in the journey itself. When let go of outcomes, we can also find more joy in the present moment.

Our practice itself is ever changing. Some days we may have boundless energy, and other days we may be walking zombies. We cannot get too attached to how we practiced yesterday or the day before, because yoga only happens in the present moment. When we practice earnestly from where we are on any given day, we can perceive the world around us more clearly. Much like the sandcastle, we can create something beautiful in the present moment.