practice unattachment

Practicing Aparigraha by Mixing up your Yoga Rouine

practice unattachmentOne of the yogi principals I’ve had the most chances to practice the past 2 years I’ve been traveling is practicing Aparigraha or Non-Attachment.

Day to day routines are awesome and something I desperately miss, but when you are stripped of your home, forced to make a new home every 5 days or so you learn really quickly there isn’t anything you absolutely NEED.

You learn to like things you never thought you would try.  You may think you need 2 pillows to sleep, but as soon as you reach a hotel with a nasty looking pillow your small travel pillow becomes heaven sent.  You may ALWAYS eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, but when you are in Thailand sometimes a yogurt and fruit bowl is actually better!

When we are in our day to day lives we lose track of the attachments we have, because the things we want are readily available.  Now I’m not saying you can’t have a routine.  I know a routine can be healthy and help you keep to your diet or help hold you accountable to hit your daily workout.

What I am suggesting though is spice up your life more frequently by trying new things ie–a new yoga studio!

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As I’ve traveled around the world, not once but twice; I’ve taken yoga classes at 50+ different studios with even more various instructors.  When I can’t find the type of class I typically do I take something new and therefore my breadth of knowledge has now expanded beyond Bikram yoga.

Yin used to be a style I thought wasn’t for me, but my time in New Zealand taught me Yin is just the balance I need.  My power postures like Standing Bow Pulling Pose are much deeper now that my hips have opened up.

I used to think Bikram was the perfect daily check in for my body, but now I see the benefits of being just as familiar with the Ashtanga Primary series.  Both series when done regularly teach you much about your body and it’s progress.

Practicing Aparigraha

Yoga postures are just tools to check into, assess, and learn more about your body.  By limiting the tools you use, you limit the knowledge you open yourself to.  Sure delve deeper with the asanas that speak to you, but always remember;

The postures you hate are the ones you need the most.

Those who hate the Bikram series could probably use a bit more structure and routine in their life.  Those who hate the variety in a vinyasa flow may need to be a little less rigid and strict.

We all may have our favorite studio, but switching it up and trying something new is how you will learn.

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a teacher are students who are unwilling to try something new.  I have so many students ask me how I was able to learn to do Vrschikasana, handstand scorpion, yet when I give them advice they shoot it down saying

  1.   They aren’t there yet.
  2.   That isn’t part of the yoga they practice
  3.   Another teacher has told them not to do it.

I can tell you this,

  1. When I started trying Vrschikasana I wasn’t there yet either!  That’s why it’s called yoga practice not yoga perfect!
  2. I was practicing Bikram Yoga and trust me, Vrschikasana was no where near being part of that series, but sometimes I would see an advanced student doing it before or after class and that lit a spark in me to want to learn.
  3. I had plenty of instructors who told me I shouldn’t work on Vrschikasana until I could do a handstand and I shouldn’t work on handstand until I could do every posture of the Bikram series perfectly.  I still struggle with Standing Head To Knee, but I feel more and more stable in Vrschikasana each day.  In fact, it’s my dabbling in other styles of yoga which have opened up my hips and helped improve my Standing Head to Knee.

Practicing Aparigraha

I say all this to remind you, you are only limited by the boundaries you set for yourself.

It is so funny that more often than not yoga, a practice which is supposed to teach you Aparigraha attaches it’s practitioners to such strict rules.  This is the part where you have to come in and be your own best teacher.  While everyone may have your best interest in heart, they are only able to provide you with the knowledge they have.  No one person is the end all be all expert, so give yourself a heads up and get the advice of others.

Some will work for you.  Some won’t.  But learning WHY something doesn’t work is the key to understanding what your body needs.

Go to a studio where the teachers have been inspired by someone other than the person you always practice with.  A yoga studio wants to keep you loyal to them.   It’s good business.  But think about how many voices you are missing if you never branch out.

Try a class you’ve never tried before.  Settling into the deep hip openers of yin, may be what you need to finally nail Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, King Pigeon.

With proper advice or/and spotting try and believe you can do a new posture.  Don’t throw away your fear, as often it’s fear that keeps us safe, but challenge your fears in safe environments.  Often as you grow and become stronger something that you once feared you won’t.  Fear may have held you back when you weren’t ready, but often the body knows when it is and those fears vanish.

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Be open to entering a posture a new way.  It may not be what you do all the time, but changing your muscle pattern could lead you to successfully doing something you’ve never done before.

As far as I’m concerned when it comes to teaching an asana the only rule is Ahimsa, or non-violence.  Never push past pain, but if you aren’t feeling pain why limit yourself to what you always do?

What’s your preferred Method of Practice?

What type of practice have you never tried?

Pick a new practice and try it this week!

No seriously answer that question below!  I’d love to get to know more about you!  Thank you for reading! :)

 

 

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