I'm not saying anything new or extraordinary when I say that life is nothing but a series of relationships --- literally, matter itself is nothing but electrons relating to other electrons.
Patanjali expresses a similar idea in the Yoga Sutra when he talks about the gunas, which means threads or strands.
A fundamental and to me pleasing idea that Patanjali includes from the Samkhya tradition is the idea of the gunas, or threads, to which are assigned three different qualities --- sattva, tamas, rajas.
These are often typically translated as luminosity (sattva), dullness or inertia (tamas), and energy or excitation (rajas).
Life, and our experience of it, is seen as a constant cycling through these three conditions --- each quality arises, expresses itself fully, then decays into the next.
Casey Palmer from Near East Yoga once put it that the practice of Ashtanga is nothing but "gunas acting on gunas."
Our relationship to our experience of Yoga, and how it is expressed and practiced, will change over time. If we hang onto it, we cling to an idea of how it should be --- we ignore the present, enshrine the past, and disrespect evolution.
Yoga in this sense becomes a reclamation project --- as Paul McCartney says, "Get back to where you once belonged." --- a process of reclaiming both our own previous experiences as well as the imagined transcendent experiences of other Great Teachers.
In a body-based practice, clinging is one way we get hurt --- by re-enacting the forward bend from Friday-night led class, rather paying attention to the forward bend on Monday morning. Or by performing a transition the way I performed in a led class in Mysore, India, 10 years ago, versus a rainy Sunday in Portland.
A relationship with Ashtanga --- whether it's performing perfectly the individual series of Ashtanga Yoga or with practicing Ashtanga Yoga in general --- are gunas. It will change and is already changing.
Some people come, find the practice and stay for a short time. Some come for 9 months, a year. Some few come for decades.
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.