What if “spirit” just meant “attitude”? As in, “that’s the spirit!” meaning, “that’s the way to do it!”
What yoga practice means to me is just this: get into the habit, the spirit, of realizing what is going on. It’s a physical thing – you realize what position you’re in, literally—but it’s also a psychological and even an environmental thing.
You have an attitude, a way of relating to, the phenomena of the world. This attitude prevails throughout your relationships. You may think you are expressing love in one relationship and expressing indifference or even hatred in another. But both are attachments, and if the attachment holds the pattern of the relationship in a rigid set of expectations, then it becomes inflexiblle, stuck. A spirit of compassionate detachment, on the other hand, recognises that while, of course, being human, we are involved and partial, we also have the capacity to see all our relationships within a broader compass so that we step back from the immediate involvement and see how the particular context of our conditions has brought us to this point. In this spirit, we can allow ourselves to see the patterns and their repetitive demands and sometimes, even, the very act of watching creates new layers of possibility so that what we thought was always so begins to alter and the thing that remains true is that when there is allowance for change and flow to take place, there, the spirit of joie de vivre, or of letting go, or, in Eliot’s words, ‘the dance’, is. May you see that the spirit of the dance is in your attitude, in the way you see yourself seeing. And may you have an extraordinary day!