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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Move Your Mat

by Leigha Hall

When I went to class on Saturday, I noticed I was becoming too attached to one particular spot in the room. Let me tell you, this is an amazing spot. It is situated between two fans. When we get to savasana, and the instructor turns the fans up, it is glorious.

I don’t think people are on to my spot as it usually seems available. In the last couple of weeks I have been snatching it up left and right and enjoying the heck out of it. So last night I realized I needed to let it go. Not forever – just a little bit.

You might ask why I would want to move. If I have a spot that I think is great, and it is available to me when I arrive, why purposefully take a different one?

One of the main reasons for taking a different spot is to practice non-attachment or, as Rick Hanson says in his book Just One Thing, “Aspire without attachment.” One importance aspect of being attached to something is the craving we experience for it. Hanson compares attachment to aspiration by explaining that, “Aspiration is about liking, while attachment is about wanting.” Liking, he says, is not a problem. When we start to crave and want something is when the suffering begins.

So do I like this little spot of heaven in the yoga room? Yes, I do. Do I crave it? Do I want it? Yes, I do. I started to find that I was hoping it would be available when I arrived because I wanted it. This spot was getting in the way of my practice. How? If I got it then I settled in to a routine. My brain thinks, “Yep. Got my spot. This will be a great class.” But who knows what kind of class it will really be and what I will experience? The wanting and getting of the spot causes my brain to disengage some with my practice, and I become less curious as to what class will be like. I think I know what class will be like because of the spot I am in.

On the flip side, if I wanted my spot and arrived to find someone in it then I would have to go find what my brain considered to be a less suitable spot. Now I am experiencing suffering. Not any kind of horrible suffering, but still suffering that my mind has fabricated for me to experience. I am likely to think my class will be less than optimal because I am not in my spot. That’s just silly. I’ll just have whatever kind of class I have in whatever spot I am in.

So Saturday night, before I went to bed, I decided I had to move my mat for the Sunday class. I decided I would not set up anywhere near my favorite spot. I had to make a clean break, and so I went and set up in the swamp – the hottest part of the room.

I held up my end of the bargain, and it was not that bad. Yes, I did sweat a lot. Yes, it was hot. There is no fan action over in the swamp. It wasn’t crowded over there, and I had plenty of space. And, I liked it. It was a great experience to be in a whole other area. My brain didn’t fall into any routine-traps (that I caught). I just listened to the instructor and went with it. It was great. The other wonderful thing about the swamp is the lack of fans. I’ve said this before, but when I’m not able to feel the fans I don’t think about them. It doesn’t matter to me if they are on or not because it’s not going to help my situation any that I can tell. When I am anywhere near a fan I tend to get a bit obsessive about if they are on or not or if they are going to be turned up higher. That clouds my mind and gets in the way of listening and practicing – basically being in the moment.

Where will I set up for Monday’s class? I don’t know. That should usually be my answer. I shouldn’t be able to tell you where I am putting my mat because I should not be attached to a spot in the room.

Where will you set up for your next class? Will you move your mat?

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