The Way of Non-Attachment

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Practicing Aparigraha (Non-Attachment) In Your Daily Life

Embracing non-attachment offers important benefits for your yoga practice and your life. Although mastering non-attachment takes time, letting go can help enhance your enjoyment of yoga, reduce stress, and improve your self-esteem.

What Is Non-Attachment?

Five self-restraints give yoga practitioners a moral and practical framework that extends far beyond yoga sessions. The self-restraints include Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (non-excess), and Aparigraha (non-attachment).

Non-attachment involves appreciating what you have and not placing too much emphasis on belongings, uncomfortable memories, and negative or uncharitable thoughts. When you practice non-attachment, you focus on the present and release toxic assumptions and belongings that no longer bring you happiness or fulfillment.

Ways to Practice Non-Attachment

Practicing aparigraha takes many forms including:

  • Changing Thought Patterns: When faced with a problem, do you automatically consider the worst possible outcomes? Do negative memories pop up at the worst times and lower your self-esteem? Altering the way you think isn't easy but can profoundly change your life. Every time, a negative thought enters your head, take a moment to counteract it with a positive one.

  • Appreciating Yourself: All of us have limitations and faults. Unfortunately, obsessing about your perceived failings can lead to poor self-image and low self-esteem. Letting go of self-defeating thoughts and celebrating your achievements, both big and small, can increase confidence and self-worth.

  • Purging: Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the stuff in your home? Although buying or obtaining your possessions may have made you feel good at the time, those feelings probably vanished soon after you brought home that new shirt or electronic gadget. By getting rid of the things you don't need, you'll reduce stress and feel more comfortable in your home. Purging can also involve getting rid of toxic relationships or at least seeing toxic people less often.

  • Making the Journey the Focus When You Practice Yoga: It's only natural to want to be the best you can be during yoga sessions. When you spend too much time thinking about your struggles to master a particular pose or begin to feel a little competitive with other members of your class, it's time to take a step back. Perfection isn't the goal in yoga, and there are no deadlines. Meditation, a key component of yoga, will help you be present in the moment, celebrate your body, and banish unhelpful thoughts. Practicing meditation offers important benefits for your physical and mental health, including lower blood pressure and a reduction in anxiety, depression, and insomnia, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

  • Sharing Love and Positivity: Loving yourself and embracing a positive attitude not only improves your life but the lives of those around you. Expressing love can take many forms. You could share your talents by volunteering at a non-profit organization, help a friend who's struggling with a tough situation, spend more time with your children, or make a donation to the local food bank.

  • Accepting Others: Many frustrations and disappointments in life are related to the actions of other people. Unfortunately, you can only control your own actions and thoughts. Non-attachment helps you manage feelings of anger, frustration, or disappointment by encouraging acceptance of the other people you encounter. You may not always approve of the behaviors of others, and things might not work out the way you want, but practicing acceptance will help you calmly face challenges and difficult situations. Remind yourself that your actions alone may not be enough to change a complicated situation, but that's okay.

Yoga offers many benefits for your physical and mental health. If you've been thinking about joining a class, now is the perfect time to begin your yoga journey. Get in touch with us for information on current classes and schedules.

Sources:

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Meditation: In Depth

Yoga Journal: 10 Ways to Bring the Yamas and Niyamas into Your Yoga Practice, 9/15/17

Psychology Today: Take a Stand for Yoga Today, 5/23/13

Yoga Basics: Letting Go of Attachments Through Yoga, 9/9/15

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