A theme we discussed not just today but throughout the entire first week of teacher training revolved around the ideas of abhyasa, effort, and vairagya, letting go. In the practice of yoga, we constantly aim to strike a balance between these two conflicting notions. We want to bring awareness to our bodies as we strive to find the proper alignment in postures, but then we also want to be able to feel detached as we leave the pose in the past and move on to our next one.
These contradictions apply to countless aspects of our lives beyond the yoga mat as well. We want to work really hard at our jobs and achieve great things but then not let our work define us as people. We want to compete in athletic events and place in tournaments but then not hold on too tightly to our successes (or failures) after the fact. We want to fully experience our relationships with people and invest our hearts in them but then not let them cloud our perceptions of our individual selves. The list goes on and on.
So the question then becomes: how do we invest effort and also willingly let go in a balanced fashion?
It takes consistent and persistent contemplation and practice. And obviously saying those words is easier than living them daily, both in the yoga studio and in the rest of our little worlds. But it’s a challenge worth attempting, a balance worth pursuing. Because it is only with that balance that you can feel truly yourself and at peace.
So I leave you for the weekend with this simple yet difficult balance to ponder in the context of your own life. How much do you care to tend to both effort and detachment? How much do you actively work at it? In what ways does it impact your quality of life? In what ways would it serve you to reflect on these ideas more often?