Aparigraha or non-attachment is one of the tenets in yogic philosophy. In simple terms, it means to “let go”. It is easy for us to become attached to people, objects, and ideas especially when we experience positive emotions when we engage with them. For example, when we go to a restaurant and eat a satisfying meal we have a tendency to want to recreate that experience for our next meal. The next time we go to that restaurant we remember our last experience and often expect another great meal. We don’t see the second visit to that restaurant as unique even though we order a different meal, have a different server, and are in a different state of mind. As a result, our expectations hold us captive and we easily become disgruntled with our experience when it doesn’t play out like it did the first time.
The same can be said for our yoga practice. Perhaps during our first yoga class, we were able to successfully move through the sequence of poses and left the class feeling energized. Then the next class we attended, we felt lethargic and didn’t understand why it was more difficult to move through the same sequence of poses as we did before. We begin to question if yoga is the right practice for ourselves. Why is this? Is it because we have the expectation that our second class will feel like the first? Yes, most likely. By practicing non-attachment we can view each yoga class as a unique experience with a different lesson for us each time. Perhaps the initial class we attended we were well rested, had plenty of nourishment before class, and had a great day at work. The outcome of the first class was clearly aligned with our self-care practices for that day. When we arrived at our second class we were running late from the office, had been out late the night before, and skipped lunch that day. As a result, we failed to notice that our body was telling us it needed more rest and nourishment, and we failed to adjust our yoga practice to be in alignment with the needs of our body for that day.
At Moving Beyond we encourage ourselves to turn our attention inward during our yoga practice. We let go of the expectations that we may have about our yoga practice. We practice based on how we feel today, and not how we felt the last time we practiced. Sometimes we will need more intensity in our practice, and other times our bodies will be asking for a more restorative and restful yoga practice.
If you would like to explore Aparigraha or non-attachment further, please join us on Saturday, October 20th at 4 p.m. for our event “Yoga and Mystery Dinner.” We will be focusing on letting go of expectations during our yoga practice and applying that same focus in our lives as we go out to dinner as a group afterward. For more information about this event, click here.