I like and dislike a plethora of things in my daily life. For example, I love chocolate and I dislike cotton balls (strange, I know!) In the studio, I love it when I have a spot near a wall, and I dislike it when my mat is out of alignment with the floor panels. We all have a slew of likes and dislikes ranging from the ordinary to the absurd.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes our likes or attachments (raga) and our dislikes or aversions (dvesha). He details how they are both obstacles on our mat. Chicka what? When we are constantly assessing what we like or dislike on our mat, we miss out on the true experience of our practice. We are too busy rehearsing our reactions to our attachments and aversions.
Naturally, we want to repeat the experiences or poses that feel good. Because I love chocolate, I often want more than one measly square. It is natural to want to repeat pleasurable experiences. When we are constantly seeking to repeat that same pleasurable experience, we are missing out on the truth of the present moment. I also love handstand, but it is not always a pleasurable experience. It is beneficial to let go of our attachments, to allow the present to be what it is.
Often, the poses we resist are what we need the most. When poses are new or challenging, they often immediately get shoved into the aversion category. We like to do what comes naturally and easily to us. The mindful practice of yoga helps us cultivate ease in any pose or situation regardless of our preferences.
Once we start to notice our raga and dvesha, we can start to notice our reactions to them. Eventually, we can learn to just be with our experience- whatever and wherever that may be.
Maggie teaches at Stray Dog Yoga on Mondays at 9:30am. Click here to register for her class.