Most of us don’t think of yoga as a results-oriented activity. More often than not, it’s a associated with ideas like non-attachment or letting go.
But let’s pause that dialog for a second and think about it. We all come to yoga for something. That may be the way we feel in class, or afterwards. We may feel stiff or sore and yoga helps. It may give us a sense of calm or balance.
So we actually are looking for a result, right?
And when you look back at some of the oldest writings on yoga, The Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad Gita or any of the myriad other texts on yoga, they’re all teaching us how to do something — how to achieve a result. The second line of the Yoga Sutras states, “Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.” That’s the goal. Right there.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Yoga absolutely emphasizes those notions of non-attachment and letting go. But it does so in a way that leads us to results. By letting go of one specific outcome, yoga allows us to discover a way that’s right for us. And I would even venture to say we can interpret non-attachment as not getting distracted. If we remain unattached to those things that could sidetrack us, we can focus more completely on the things we’re actually working towards.
Another thing that yoga does through its emphasis on non-attachment, is it prompts us to use the skills and abilities we currently have in order to get where we’re going. My tight hamstrings won’t keep me from working on full splits, I’ll just work towards that goal in way that honors where I’m at now. I evolve at my own pace.
A pursuit that has no goal is just wandering. We come to yoga for its benefits. If there were none, we probably wouldn’t come back. So, embrace your wellness goals, and work towards them with focus, with patience, and with the understanding that where you’re at now is the starting point for where you want to be.