Not too long ago, Sadie, my 3-year old asked me for a drink. When I gave her the cup, she threw the most epic tantrum to ever be thrown. She stomped and shouted:
“I can NOT drink from a green cup!”
I rolled my eyes and nearly lost my temper but we worked it out and I brushed it off as typical three-year old drama.
Not too long after that, I was telling one of my teachers about a time when I attended a workshop with a very famous yoga teacher. I described how this very famous yoga teacher turned me off because she was sitting up on a throne (literally a throne!) to teach and she would make some very big shows of normal things like drinking water. I was also put off by the way she would make these big dramatic pauses when she was speaking, as if to make sure everyone was really paying attention to her.
I said to my teacher, “I prefer when teachers are a more down to earth, not so much pomp and circumstance.”
My teacher replied, “I prefer when teachers know what they are talking about whether there is pomp and circumstance or not.”
Touche. My own green cup moment.
Attractions (rāga) and aversions (dveṣa) can be impediments on the way toward manifesting intentions or fulfilling desires, or getting the experience or knowledge we seek.
Of course just like there are no categorically bad actions, attractions and aversions are situationally dependent.
We can experience this in asana practice. Everyone has attachments or aversions to practicing particular poses or practicing poses in particular ways. When presented with a different variation or way to practice, those attractions and aversions might prevent the practitioner from accessing the benefits of the pose.
The only way to tell whether or not attachments or aversions are impediments is to be really clear about exactly what it is that we want from our practice.
It also helps to continuously inquire about each time we encounter something in practice that we immediately like or don’t like.
Need help figuring out if you are caught in the trap of attractions and aversions? Spring is the perfect time to sort out your intentions, your attractions and aversions, and to renew your commitment to practicing. Come see me on the mat and we’ll sort it out together.
Namaste, yogis, and happy almost-spring!