Aparigraha is the concept of detaching – practicing non possessiveness, non-grasping and non-greediness. It is the idea that once you are attached to anything - it then has control over you and your happiness. Whether you are attached to your yoga mat, your car, your job, your partner, or your life – the fear of losing that thing/person/role alters the way you behave and your reactions to things. Similarly being attached to achieving or gaining possession of something really alters your reality. Whether it is weight loss, your ‘soul mate’, a certain house etc – it is all a false belief that external ideas/things/people can make you happy.
I remember for a long time I was quite attached to ‘landing’ scorpion. It wasn’t until I was working with a mantra ‘does this make me a better person’ that I realised how un-important scorpion was. (I know its ridiculous right! But I am human and it is easy to get wrapped up in the mind and ego). I realised Scorpion doesn’t make me a better person or even a better yoga teacher at all. The irony of the situation was that as soon as I stopped attaching to being able to achieve the pose I could do it every time with little effort. The attachment was hindering me, rather than helping.
In today’s society we are very attached to things and people. But I think perhaps even more concerning is our attachment to labels. Too quickly we are so eager to define ourselves as our job title, pay packet, our marital status, our family, our house, and more…. But this too is an attachment. It’s grasping at an idea that by labelling yourself as a certain thing you are something particular. You are not this. You are not that. You can lose your job, you can lose your health, your partner, your family, car, house, etc, etc…. You will still exist.
Giving control to desires, things, labels, poses ultimately lets other things outside of you, take control of your happiness. Why would you give away that power?
On the mat:
1. Practice detaching from the idea that there is a certain way a pose should look. Your yoga pose doesn’t need to look like the front of some magazine, an Instagram picture, the teachers or the person next to you. All that matters is that it feels good and you are breathing with control. Every body in a yoga room looks different therefore start to embrace an attitude that every pose in the yoga room should look a little different too J
2. Drop attachment to poses. This is a big one. Working on strengthening and working towards certain poses is definitely part of the yoga practice in building discipline and will power. However it is possible to work towards something without being attached to the outcome. Eg. If you are working towards the splits, you may practice the pose everyday but you are not forcing your body or disappointed/angry everytime you don’t make it. Instead you practice. And if one day it happens you will be pleasantly surprised. And if it never happens you will be at peace too J
3. Detach from your teacher. Yoga is the practice of you connecting to yourself – body, breath, mind & soul. Your teacher is your guide. Your reminder to stay present. Your point of meditation to allow you to switch off and follow the cues. If there is a teacher that you were not expecting taking the class it is a perfect opportunity to see if you can detach from the reaction and just delve into your practice.
4. Detaching from your body! Yes the Green Room does have a clothing policy. It is WEAR CLOTHES. We don’t get why people and yogi’s feel the need to get their gear off and take fangdangle pictures of them doing poses everywhere. If you are doing this and sharing – what is the motivation? Does your ego want people to see how far you have progressed…? Or how toned your abs are??? In the yoga studio the practice of yoga is about turning in. It is about connecting with your body on a much deeper level than the external. Wearing minimal clothing is a distraction for you and for others. You do not need to be checking out your body whilst practising… And again – why is there a need? If you are practicing hot yoga – you will sweat all over. A t-shirt or crop top or no top… you will still sweat all over. Wear clothes and detach from how your body looks… focus on turning in and listening to how it feels!
Off the Mat:
1. DETACH FROM THE FUTURE!!!! I want to be 5kgs lighter, I want to be prettier, I want to be paid more, I want to have a bigger house… SERIOUSLY. All this is saying to yourself is that you are not enough and that you will not be happy until you possess these things. Guess what. You won’t be happy when you have these things… the goal posts will move and you will continue to fool yourself with the pursuit of happiness. Practicing an attitude of gratitude and acceptance will ALWAYS help you find peace and happiness over attaching to a future possible outcome.
2. Let go of STUFF!!!! One of our regulars lives by the 100 rule. He has 100 items/possessions and everytime he buys something new, something else has to be given away, or thrown away. This is perhaps extreme… but maybe just start where you are… Anytime you buy something new – remove something old.
3. Stop filling your life with empty possessions. Another activity I like to do is avoid buying anything new (except for food) for a week, a month – pick your timeframe. Any time you go to purchase something/item you immediately donate the amount to a charity. Alternatively you can save up the amount and donate at the end. It’s amazing how much money we spend on things we don’t need. And how much that can help others who lack many things they actually need. Replace your wants with providing for other people’s needs.
4. Look after yourself first! Your body and energy. When we feel out of sorts with life, like we are stuck, down, can’t win, or worse we tend to really cling and attach on to those around us. This puts a lot of pressure and stress on them.. Instead, find ways to nurture, center, love yourself so that you feel independent and strong in your own right.
5. Watch your thoughts!!! Do not attach to negative thoughts. Often our negativity is an attachment. Whether you think you are ugly, fat, poor, single – its just labels and an attachment to being something else that often slips very easily into a habit. These thoughts spiral out of control, and become who you think you are. See if you can identify those attachments and replace with a positive mantra.
6. LET GO OF THE PAST. Yes people have hurt you. Yes you perceive that people have done wrong by you. Forgive. Let go of painful memories from your past. Free yourself by offering forgiveness to those who have hurt you. The reality is that you are the only one that the hurt is impacting. It does not serve you and it wastes a lot of your energy.
KORINNE McNEILL: Yoga is life for Korinne. Creator of the Green Room Korinne is grateful everyday that she gets to share her passion with others.