Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fit

The Art of Non-Attachment in Yoga

Discover the final stage of the five yamas, aparigrahā, which teaches a valuable lesson in better understanding the Self and one's role in society in this lifetime.

109
Author Image
Yoga Advisor
SHARE:

Aparigraha, or non-grasping, is the pinnacle of the five self-restraints (yamas), the moral disciplines described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

There are five yamas and each one can be considered a specific sādhana, a practice leading directly to a goal. All are essential for the practice of yoga. These five include ahimsā (non violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacaryā (maintaining appropriate sexual and physical boundaries with others) and aparigrahā (non-grasping).

Each of the yamas are observances that regulate behavior in relationship to others. Although they are externally oriented and correct our attitude to the world around us in a positive way, it is their effect on the individual observing the vows that is more important for yoga. The practice of the yamas is powerfully transformative internally, bringing greater clarity and stability to the mind, gradually cleaning it so that it may be harnessed and directed toward the Self.

Each of the yamas builds upon the previous one, culminating in aparigrahā, which literally means non-grasping or non-possessiveness, not accumulating, or accepting objects that are unnecessary in daily life. Pattabhi Jois wrote in Yoga Mala that “Only taking as much food as we need to maintain our bodies, and not desiring things of enjoyment, which are superfluous to the physical body, is aparigrahā.” Hence, it is not just eliminating the unnecessary and lessening what we consume, but also working toward a state where we do not desire that which is superfluous. This should be extended to include the perceived possession of intellectual ideas and relationships with others and the world.

As a practice, it is easier to first focus on aparigrahā in relation to material objects, identifying what you can live without and, hopefully, successfully relinquishing it. Subsequently, you may begin to notice you have a similar sense of grasping and possessiveness in regard to intellectual ideas and relationships with others. These are more subtle examples of the grasping mind, but must also be given up. The aim of yoga practice is to bring the mind to a state where we can see clearly without any distortion of the truth, and it is often beliefs about ourselves or others that prevent us from seeing clearly and acting with integrity. We will find clearer perception in all situations when we maintain strict observance of all the yamas, particularly aparigrahā, which is considered as the most difficult.


Related: Connecting to the Seed of Spiritual Knowledge through Yoga



Patanjali writes in the Yoga Sutras that the result of being “firmly established in aparigrahā” is that you gain “a complete knowledge and understanding of your birth.” Through the perfection of the practice of aparigrahā, the mind becomes liberated from an enormous amount of unneeded activity. It would also help us understand the process of desire and the underlying samskāras (mental impressions that come from past experiences) that have caused the mind to grasp toward different kinds of objects.

The identification of our own saṃskāras is akin to understanding our birth since it illuminates the forces, many of which we are born with, that profoundly influence how we interact with the world and how we develop psychologically. Using the same reasoning, many commentators on the Yoga Sutrās, including Swami Vivekananda, interpret this sutra to mean that establishment in aparigrahā leads to a knowledge of our previous birth. Others, such as Swami Satyananda Saraswati, include knowledge of future births as well.

We can also read “a knowledge and understanding of our birth” to mean that we gain knowledge of our own personal dharma (those duties, responsibilities, and talents that are specific to each individual). This allows each one of us to contribute far more effectively to our families, society, and the world around us, and, hence, fulfill the potential that we have for this life.

In practicing aparigrahā, it is important not to become obsessive, but rather to continue to live in a way that is contributive to society. We cannot simply give up everything and live in a cave. For one on the path of yoga who must remain in the world, Krishna addresses this age old problem beautifully as one of his main teachings in the Bhagavad Gita. In discussing karma yoga, he states that we should perform action for action’s sake, but not be attached to the fruits of our actions. In other words, we should do what is right without seeking special merit or recognition for our actions.

This is far easier when we are able to identify our personal dharma and channel our energy in that direction, knowing that there is a higher purpose to life.

Following this philosophy, work and duty become worship, and while aspiring to yoga, we can take part in the world and enjoy it, maintaining a feeling that “This is not me, this is not mine.” For a spiritual seeker, the attitude of aparigrahā is central to these teachings and once the sense of ownership over physical and intellectual possessions is relinquished, the mind becomes liberated for a deeper internal inquiry into the Self, the goal of yoga.

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

An Expert Guide to Crow Pose

Download Sonima’s comprehensive guide to this exciting “reach” posture and enjoy the benefits of expert instruction at home!

Get the Guide

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • Mindfulness is about being present within moment to moment awareness. 
Try this walking meditation today and allow every breath to fill your life with more meaning. ✨

Click on our bio link to follow along to this 5 minute mindfulness meditation and ground yourself in the preciousness of the present moment! ✨
.
.
.
.
.
#mondaymindfulness #mondaymotivation #mondaymindset #mondaymorning #mondayvibes #mindfulnessmeditation #walkingmeditation #mindfulwalking  #mantramonday #mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #mindbodybalance #winterwonderland #winterwalk #mindfulnesspractice
  • . .

Here are a few easy and basic tips you can start to implement into your practice to first develop the strength for handstands. 
1. Use Uddiyana Bandha in Downward Facing Dog.
2. Hold high plank position using strong legs and core.
3. Start to jump forward from Downward Dog and get your hips up over your shoulders. 
4. Don’t be afraid of falling over. 
5. Feel comfortable to land in a backbend or use the wall for support.
  • Try these quick, simple, and nutritious “Holiday Roasted Rosemary Vegetables.” Bring them to that impromptu Christmas party or enjoy them in your own home. 
They are a great addition to any Hanukah dinner or gathering with  friends or family. 🥕

Click on our bio link for the full recipe created by Amie Valpone @amievalpone 🙏🏽♥️
.
.
.
.
.
.
#holidayseason #holidayrecipes #christmasfood #amievalpone #cleaneatingrecipe #cleandiet #detoxdiet #eatingclean #thehealthyapple #resetyourbody #antiinflammatorydiet #flightinflammationwithfood #eatingcleanrecipes #vegetarianrecipes #veganrecipes #veganfoodlovers #veganfood #vegetarianmeals #healthyrecipes #mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #roastedveggies
  • Opportunities are coming your way this month, and with the right mindset and some newfound confidence, you can wrap up 2020 with great success! 💫

Read your full December horoscope 
when you click on our bio link! ✨
.
.
.
.
.
.
#tuesdaytransformation #tuesdaymorning #tuesdaythoughts #astrology #horoscopes #sagitarius 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #astrologicalsign #sagitariusseason #monthlyhoroscopes #astrologyzone #horoscopesigns #monthlyhoroscopes
#sagitarianas #sagittarius♐️
  • Seven science-supported reasons why moderately intense activities—like yoga, walking briskly, or biking around town—will never go out of style and may actually be the best kind of exercise for your body. 🚲
.
From our profile page, click on our bio-link to read the full article. 🧘🏻‍♀️
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#weekendvibes #weekendworkout #weekendwarrior #lowintensitycardio #lifestylefitness #workoutroutine #workoutmotivation #workoutoftheday 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #mindbodyhealth #integrativehealth #loveyourlife #sundayinspiration
  • Though it's often hard to move after a heavy meal, these sweet yoga poses help to relieve the body, restore comfort, and aid in digestion! 
After the feast, give yourself some time to rub your stomach, then, take a deep breath and turn to your yoga practice to care for your digestive health. 
Good digestion is a key part of overall well-being and happiness! 🧘🏻‍♀️ .
Follow the link in our bio to follow this very helpful practice to help you digest. ✨

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙏🏽
.
.
.

Yoga practice created by @christinechenyoga 
Photos by @haileywist .

#thankfulthursdaysonima

#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #nationalgratitudemonth #gratitudechallenge #gratefulheart #gratitudejournal #gratitudeattitude #gratitudedaily #thankfulgratefulblessed #thankfulheart #gratitudepractice #attitudeofgratitude 
#gratefulforlife #gratitudemonth #gratitudemeditation #deepakchopra .
.
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!