Yoga with Melissa 140 Keepin it Real Yogi Style Non-Striving

by Melissa West on August 15, 2012

We continue our series Keepin it Real Yogi Style with Jon Kabat Zin’s attitudes for mindfulness as explored in his book Full Catastrophe Living. This week’s attitude for mindfulness is: non-striving. Jon Kabat Zin reminds us that almost everything we do we do in our life, we do for a purpose; but in yoga that can be a real obstacle. How many times have my Namaste Yoga members heard me say, “Infinite time and no ambition?”

Yoga has no goal other than for you to be your True Self. The irony, Jon Kabat Zin points out, is that you already are your True Self! You simply are uncovering what you may have forgotten. In yoga it may be a new way of being in which you “do” less and “be” more. In yoga we intentionally cultivate an attitude of non-striving.

When you come to the yoga mat, if you come with a self-improvement project then you are saying that whatever is happening is not ok. Mindfulness means paying attention to whatever is happening with complete and total acceptance. Try to back off from striving and instead see and accept things as they are – with patience and regular practice movement towards your goals will take place by themselves.

In today’s class we will practice a pose called half-moon balancing pose. This is an asana where non-striving is imperative. The more you strive in this pose, the more likely the pose is to fall apart. Allowing this pose to open with infinite time, with no ambition, this pose opens like a beautiful flower to the sun.

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