Non-Attachment - What Does It Really Mean In Your Practice?

By Guest Blogger: Laura Large


Yoga has so many levels. On one level, it’s a very physical practice that asks us to bend, flex and support our body weight in ways that we don’t normally do in our everyday lives. Yet, if we just look a little beneath this physical surface all sorts of things arise that have the potential to affect our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Yoga literally means union, and to me, that will always be the highest goal of our practice; union with our body, union with our mind, and ultimately, union with the divine. Luckily, there’s a roadmap that comes complete with directions to help us on our way, in the form of the Yamas and Niyamas… There are the moral guidelines and ways of ‘right living’ given to us by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

Non-Attachment - What Does It Really Mean In Your PracticePhoto: @omniyogagirl | Featured Print: New Zealand


So, what does non-attachment mean and how can we apply it and reconcile it with wanting to improve our physical practice? Non-attachment, or Aparigraha, is the last of the five Yamas, or ‘moral guidelines’ and it also translates as non-greed, non-grasping & non-possessiveness, which all basically adds up to not chasing after something just for the sake of having it. I think this brings up some really important things to consider when it comes to how we approach our time on the mat.


I’m a big fan of the physical practice of yoga, and I love how it challenges me every day to explore what my body can do, but if the main goal of Yoga is to find that sense of union with all that is, then we need to learn how to ride the ‘waves’ that our mind produces. Chasing after that ‘perfect’ pose, or the most advanced variation because you base the worth of your practice in achieving it will only create tension… That’s attachment to the outcome and attachment in any form, disturbs the mind. The more still the mind, the more chance we have of seeing past the ‘noise’ and getting a glimpse of our true selves and the union that already exists within us.

Non-Attachment - What Does It Really Mean In Your PracticePhoto: @omniyogagirl | Featured Print: Monarch Wings

So, when we are working to flip our grip in King Pigeon, bend more deeply in Wheel pose, or conquer a straight up headstand, how do we work towards those goals in a way that is true to the spirit of non-attachment? It’s all about showing up, making the effort and steadily working in the direction we want to go, without being attached to the end result. This is where we can reap the real value of our practice. We get to know our inner landscape on a deeper level, and the experience and knowledge we gain from our practice begin to change us and how we live our lives from the inside out.


I'm currently working on handstand training, and yes, I’ve had those times when I’ve wanted a shortcut where I’ve felt desperate to progress and get totally fixated on ‘nailing’ it, because, let’s face it, handstands are cool. But, when I’m able to drop that attachment to the result I get to see how much there is to gain physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually from the process of diligently chipping away at this ‘advanced’ skill. I’ve already gotten so much from the work I’ve put into my handstands, that it almost doesn’t matter anymore whether I actually achieve that graceful press into the perfect straight up handstand of my dreams. Fear of not being in control, fear of falling, fear of the unknown.

These are all things that my handstand practice has brought up and, as a result, all fears that I am much better equipped to deal with. I’ve realized that I’m braver than I thought... I have the potential to be physically and mentally stronger than I ever thought possible, and that fear really is only in the mind. It might be a clichè, but it’s true… It really is about the journey and not the destination.

Non-Attachment - What Does It Really Mean In Your PracticePhoto: @omniyogagirl | Featured Print: New Zealand

Working on that challenging pose can bring us so many benefits that are really nothing to do with the pose itself… They are training grounds that prepare us to face stressful situations, and learn to breathe through them… They build confidence, self-esteem, and trust in yourself. And most of the benefits come from observing the effect that pose has on your consciousness We get to know ourselves and our internal world a little better than we did before.


Personally, I think it all comes down to balance. There's nothing wrong in wanting to achieve a certain pose & the amazing feeling of accomplishment it can give you. Just make sure you don’t miss out on the journey in the process… That’s where the “magic” happens.


About the Author

Laura Large is an Ashtanga Yoga Practitioner and Teacher, based in the UK, with a real love and passion for the practice. She also runs a Wellbeing center where she works as a licensed Acupuncturist. Outside of her daily Ashtanga Vinyasa practice she loves playing creatively with poses and exploring hybrid postures and different variations - Arm balances are a real favorite! You can find her on Instagram where she hosts yoga challenges and shares tips and tutorials at @omniyogagirl.


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