How Non-Attachment Can Revolutionise Your Life

Let go of attachment and you can be FREE!

For me, it began with reading the Bhagavad Gita as part of Yoga teacher training. It is the part of the Bhagavad Gita that talks about not being attached to the outcomes of your endeavors. It’s been a revelation to me. I have been thinking about it ever since and believe it has already fundamentally changed the way I look at life and live my life. When I first became a Yoga teacher I could not cope with it at all. I would cry after all my classes. It was like performance anxiety. I was convinced everyone hated the classes, and me, and I tortured myself about how many people came along, and whether they came back. So the concept of non-attachment was an incredible, life-changing gift. All of a sudden, I could let go of how many people came, how much money I made from teaching, what people thought of me and the class, and just surrender it to the Universe. Combined with an intention to be the authentic version of myself, as a teacher, and in life, I was able to move on from that year of attachment torture!

“The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results.”

~ Krishna quote from The Bhagavad Gita

As a yogi, it can revolutionise your yoga practice and your life. Letting go of achieving poses, or what you look like in a pose, and letting go of being better than anyone else in the class, can take your yoga practice to the next level. It’s really about letting go of judgments and expectations, and striving, and seeing if you can just ‘be’.

The spiritual and yogic principle of non-attachment, often referred to as “vairagya” in yoga philosophy, has the potential to revolutionize one’s life in profound ways. Non-attachment is about letting go of our excessive attachment to people, possessions, outcomes, and even our own identity. By embracing this principle, individuals can experience a significant shift in their perspective, mindset, and overall well-being.

It’s one of those things we can learn on the yoga mat, and take off the mat into our lives.

Take it off the mat and here’s how the guideline of non-attachment can revolutionize your life:

Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Attachment to outcomes, possessions, or situations often leads to stress and anxiety. Non-attachment helps in accepting and letting go of circumstances beyond our control, reducing unnecessary worry and mental strain.

Enhanced Freedom and Flexibility:
When we’re not overly attached to specific outcomes, we open ourselves to a greater sense of freedom and flexibility. This allows us to adapt to change and embrace new opportunities with an open mind.

Improved Relationships:
Non-attachment in relationships means loving and caring deeply without clinging to possessiveness or control. This fosters healthier relationships built on trust, respect, and mutual growth rather than dependency.

Better Decision Making:
When we’re not attached to a particular outcome, we can make decisions more objectively and rationally. This leads to better choices that align with our values and long-term well-being.

Inner Peace and Contentment:
Letting go of the need for things to be a certain way or for certain outcomes brings inner peace and contentment. It allows us to appreciate the present moment and find joy in what is, rather than always craving for more or different circumstances.

Spiritual Growth:
Non-attachment is a fundamental principle in many spiritual traditions. By practicing detachment from the material world and ego, individuals can deepen their spiritual understanding and connection to a higher purpose.

Increased Productivity and Efficiency:
When we are not overly attached to a particular plan or way of doing things, we can adapt more readily to changes and find innovative solutions. This boosts productivity and efficiency in various aspects of life.

Mindfulness and Presence:
Letting go of attachments encourages mindfulness and being present in the moment. It allows us to fully engage with what we’re doing, leading to a richer and more fulfilling experience of life.

Alleviation of Fear of Loss:
Fear of loss often arises from attachment. Non-attachment helps reduce this fear, enabling us to face inevitable changes, loss, and impermanence with greater equanimity and courage.

A Deeper Understanding of Impermanence:
Non-attachment is closely tied to the understanding of impermanence, a fundamental concept in many spiritual and philosophical traditions. Recognizing the impermanent nature of all things helps us navigate life with a sense of acceptance and grace.

Incorporating non-attachment into your life involves mindful awareness, introspection, and a willingness to release your grip on things that don’t serve your higher purpose. It’s a practice that takes time and effort but can profoundly transform your outlook and approach to life, leading to a more meaningful and fulfilling existence.

Non-Attachment and the 8 Limbs of Yoga

Non-attachment is one of the fundamental principles and practices in yoga philosophy, particularly within the context of the eight limbs of yoga as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. The eight limbs serve as a guide for a holistic and disciplined yogic lifestyle, aiming at spiritual awakening and self-realization. Non-attachment is an essential aspect of the fifth limb, Pratyahara, and is intertwined throughout the other limbs as well.

Here’s how non-attachment manifests within the framework of the eight limbs of yoga:

Yama – Ethical Principles

In the first limb, Yama, non-attachment is expressed through “Aparigraha,” which translates to non-greed or non-possessiveness. Practicing Aparigraha involves letting go of the desire to hoard or excessively possess material possessions. It encourages a mindset of sufficiency, valuing experiences and relationships over material accumulation.

Niyama – Personal Observances

Within Niyama, the second limb, non-attachment is associated with contentment (“Santosha”). Contentment is the practice of finding inner peace and satisfaction regardless of external circumstances, emphasizing a detachment from material desires and an appreciation of the present moment.

Asana – Physical Postures

While non-attachment is not explicitly a part of the physical postures (asanas), the practice of yoga asanas cultivates bodily awareness and mindfulness. This awareness helps individuals observe sensations without excessive attachment or aversion, promoting a balanced and non-reactive approach to physical sensations and experiences.

Pranayama – Breath Control

In Pranayama, the fourth limb, individuals learn to observe and regulate their breath. Through this practice, they develop a sense of detachment from external distractions, focusing inward and attaining a more profound connection with the breath and inner state.

Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses

Pratyahara, the fifth limb, involves withdrawing the senses from external stimuli. Non-attachment is central to this stage, as practitioners learn to detach from sensory cravings and aversions, ultimately gaining control over their responses to external influences.

Dharana – Concentration

Non-attachment subtly influences Dharana, the sixth limb, as practitioners strive to concentrate their attention on a single point of focus (an object, mantra, etc.). By not being overly attached to fleeting thoughts and distractions, they can deepen their concentration and inner stillness.

Dhyana – Meditation

In the seventh limb, Dhyana or meditation, non-attachment plays a significant role. Meditators practice observing thoughts without getting entangled in them, fostering a detached awareness and allowing for a deeper meditative experience.

Samadhi – Absorption or Enlightenment

The eighth limb, Samadhi, represents the ultimate goal of yoga, a state of complete absorption and union with the divine. Non-attachment is fully realized in Samadhi, where the individual transcends all limitations, desires, and attachments, experiencing a state of pure awareness and unity.

Incorporating non-attachment into the practice of the eight limbs of yoga allows you to cultivate a balanced and harmonious relationship with yourself, your TRUE/HIGHER SELF and the world around you. By gradually detaching from external influences and desires, you can attain a sense of inner freedom, peace, and a deeper connection to your true Self.