Yoga: Practice Letting Go

Buddha said that all suffering is caused by our attachments to people, situations and things. He taught that by learning to let go of these impermanent states of being, we can liberate ourselves and achieve nirvana. 

Similarly, in the tradition of Ashtanga yoga, one of the areas of practice, study, and commitment known as the yamas, is aparigrapha, which literally means "not grasping."

This which can be interpreted in many ways, including:

Non-hoarding

Non-attachment

Non-greed

Non-envy

Non-possessiveness

When we cling to the old, we surrender the valuable space needed to receive the new. This concept can be applied to material possessions, relationships, and also to intangible things like thoughts and ideas. 

The beginning months of the year often hold a theme of letting go to make space for change to come into our lives. The trees release all their leaves and the dead of winter sets in, purifying the land. Many of us cleaned out what we no longer needed from our closets, our homes, even our lives. This cleansing is a beautiful example of how to practice aparigraha on a physical level.

But as springtime sets in, how can we align with the kapha energy of the planet and continue to cultivate this practice on a deeper level? How can we practice non-grasping in our minds and hearts, so that the seeds of change we're planting have room to bloom inside us? Seated meditation practice is always a great place to start.

Through meditation practice, we can develop awareness of the thoughts that run wild through our mind. We begin to notice that within our thoughts, we are replaying stories through which we come to understand our daily lives. But often, the narratives we believe cause us suffering.

Begin to observe the narrative that is constantly projecting on your mental screen with detachment. Is this a story that would support the well-being of someone's mind, body and soul? The story is serving a purpose for you, so ask without judgement, why did you write it? What could come into your life if you let go of your old stories, making the space to rewrite them for yourself?