For the first time in three months I returned to my practice. Not that I hadn’t done a physical practice in three months. Not even that I hadn’t done my practice, the sequence of poses and shapes that comprise system of yoga known as Ashtanga.
I had. I had been there in body, my physical form had approximated the shapes and movements. I had been there in breath, inhaling oxygen to sustain my movement, exhaling carbon dioxide to release spent energy.
But I hadn’t really been there. No, not really. I had been living in the past of three months ago. The past before my teacher unexpectedly left the state. Back when I felt guided, and protected. Encouraged and challenged. Back when practice married my spirit with my breath, my focus with my movements, my being with my purpose.
Since then, every time I practiced the Primary Series it has been as if watching someone else through frosted glass. My soul disconnected from the motion, lacking the energy to pour purpose into where my body and breath were going.
I had come to wonder whether this practice was really my practice. To wonder whether, perhaps, I had chosen the wrong path.
On the encouragement of a friend I visited a local yoga shala today, and in the thirty minutes before class the teacher spoke about Aparigraha. Aparigraha is the fifth of the Yamas, five guiding practices for relating to others in the world.
Roughly translated, Aparigraha means non-hoarding, non-coveting, or non-attachment. While she spoke to the first of these two meanings, I was convicted by the third. I was holding on to an attachment for my previous teacher. An attachment to the way he taught, to how he guided, to how I felt entering that studio space.
I was grasping tightly onto something I could never have again, and in this grasping I had come to avoid my practice. I had discarded the nourishment I most needed because it wasn’t the nourishment I was used to, as if pouring out the last of my water in the middle of the desert because I had run out of champagne.
Today I found my practice again. As I released the attachment to what was past I found what was now. Presence became effortless even as the work of releasing found my body and breath sooner spent.
I was home, again.