Those of you who practice with me know that I teach my classes in monthly themes. This month’s theme has been APARIGRAHA, or non-attachment in English. I teach in themes after a workshop that I went to with Jason Crandell at Studio One Yoga Leyland earlier this year. As pointed out during the workshop, lots of teachers choose to teach what would appear to be “random” classes that don’t link from one class to the next. Jason discussed the benefits of practising with a theme, whereby many of the postures are repeated over a series of classes. For me, as a classroom teacher, this seems so logical. I wouldn’t teach one grammatical concept, or a set of vocabulary structures in my languages classes at school without practicing it, so why would I teach a posture, or the preparation for a posture, and not come back to it the following class?
Anyway, I digress. Let’s get back to aparigraha. Aparigraha is the Sanskrit word for non-attachment, which is the fifth yama in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In yogic philosophy the yoga sutras provide yogis with moral codes to live by both on and off the mat. Up until this month I themed my classes around a particular posture or a particular body part/area and intertwined small philosophical elements. Those of you who know me well enough know that I ADORE classes that have a more philosophical or spiritual element, something that I can take with me off the mat and into my “real” life. So this is where my inspiration came from for this theme. I wanted to base it around philosophy only, and the poses have only been secondary.
Aparigraha means “non-attachment”. Both on and off the mat we place such high expectations on ourselves, we criticise ourselves, we push ourselves, we judge ourselves, we over think. Why not just let our practice be what it is, just show up and be? Each time we roll out our mat is a new practice. Our bodies change, our environment changes, our situations change, so let that be.
I used to think that non-attachment meant “letting go”. But now I don’t quite think so. I have a tattoo on my arm to remind myself to just let things be. It says “es lo que hay”, which is Spanish for “it is what it is”. I have that constant reminder that I don’t need to hold on so tightly to my expectations, demands and thoughts. To just acknowledge what’s going on and let it be what it is.
I can honestly say that through teaching all of my classes this month I have lavished every second that I have spent researching and reading further into this theme in order to teach my classes. I have loved every single second of every single one of my classes that I have taught this month. The feedback I have received so far across my classes has been so overwhelming to hear and I can’t thank you all enough for such kind words. I feel so humbled that I can share my love of yoga with you all.
If you have been in one of my classes this month I would love to hear your thoughts on how you have found this theme?