Yoga teaches me that the process of purification – tapas – is necessary and useful. Yoga teaches me that the time for tapas arrives just when it should. Yoga teaches me to recognise the disordered perceptions handed down by our families and to modify them as needed. My parents were both hoarders. Not hard to justify if you grew up in Depression-era Toronto or WW2-time Leeds, as they did. In the age of plenty, collections of yogurt pots and old socks are unnecessary. Yoga teaches me to discern between detachment and spurning. I have spent the past year emptying my closets of clothes, books, cables, tat and trash. The end result is a spectacular spaciousness where once there was clutter. The elation at seeing emptiness outstrips the flea market triumph of the find that brought most of this stuff into my life. Yoga teaches me that I could have ejected these things from my life much earlier, but the process would have been aggressive and unconscious. I could have become angry at the clutter – this has happened – and rid myself of things that are useful or treasured. Instead, I found myself one day in a place where I truly appreciated the things, gave them thanks, even embraced them, then happily let them leave my life. It is a nice, comfortable process. Yoga teaches me that the space we empty of things can fill with other things, but they are not likely to be material. We moved to a larger house in order to have more space for, well, everything. Hobbies, art material, instruments, cooking implements. But the only space that love needs is a corner in the heart. The heart is infinitely big, its capacity untested in most cases. I don’t need a bigger house to house more things. I need a bigger heart to hold more people, to make the bonds that tie stronger and stretchier. But, caution, with detachment. I hold you in my heart, but I never aim to own you. Yoga teaches me to lighten my home and open my heart. Yoga teaches me, patiently and carefully, that our wholeness is something felt from deep within.