“In the entire path of yoga, there is really only one lesson. It is the one lesson we have to learn over and over again. Whenever we relinquish our craving, clinging and grasping, whenever we are totally present and undivided, we are immediately in union with our true nature.” – Stephen Cope
Through yoga, we can address our attachments, our extreme possessiveness, with the concept of non-attachment or aparigraha. Aparigraha is the 5th yama or abstinence in the 8 fold path of yoga. In Sanskrit, the word aparigraha is broken down into graha = to take/grab, pari=all sides & a=against. So, aparigraha means “against taking all” or non-greed. While we can certainly have attachments to physical things, we can also be possessive on an intellectual or verbal level.
Here are some basic methods for practicing non-attachment or aparigraha this week in your asana practice:
Practice Yoga Joyfully – Practice what you love. Be honest about what you need from your practice. Don’t cling to poses that you feel you should do because you would be “less” without attaining them.
Let Go – This is more intellectual than physical. Allow your mind to give up and relax in a longer than normal Savasana.
Or, choose a restorative pose to marinate in. Give yourself permission to float down the river. Imagine yourself smoothly gliding around any boulders or logs that stand in your way.
When you hunger for something, you want it, you need it, in fact you may not be able to function without it. Your mind becomes attached to that “thing”. You may think that you want it with all your heart, but you really want it with all your intellect. Your mind is the possessor here, not your eyes nor your ears. In the end, this can make you scattered, obsessed, and completely unaware that others may be affected by your desires. When we practice non-attachment, we are learning to clear the mind so that the act of possessiveness does not occlude our life force. We can (and should) still enjoy “things” in life. But, not to the detriment of others or at the risk of becoming unbalanced.
Non-attachment opens the way to freedom for the soul.