Daily Yogi’s Guide to Aparigraha (Non-Attachment)

Daily Yogi branch of Yamas lower limb of yoga - Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha
Yamas – Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha

1st Limb of Yoga – Yamas (Interpersonal Ethics) #5: Aparigraha (Non-Attachment)

The first 2 of the 8 Limbs of Yoga are the Yamas and Niyamas. There are 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas, and we will take a full day on our Daily Yogi journey to focus on practicing each of the five.

Many of the translations from Sanskrit to English for the Yamas (YAH-muhs), or Interpersonal Ethics, are things you should NOT do. I consider many of the Yamas to be different embodiments of The Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would want done to you.” Of course we aim to not do the negative thing, but on the flip side we also should try to embody the positive opposite. Let’s take a closer look at the last of five Yamas – Aparigraha.

All about Aparigraha (Non-Attachment)

What does Aparigraha mean? What is the translation of Aparigraha?

Aparigraha (ah-PA-ree-GRA-ha) is “non-grasping on all sides” in a direct translation from Sanskrit. However, it is frequently translated as non-attachment or non-possessiveness.

What is Aparigraha?

Aparigraha is “non-grasping on all sides” in a direct translation from Sanskrit. However, it is frequently translated as non-attachment or non-possessiveness. Aparigraha is about both not attaching ourselves to a particular outcome, and also gratitude and enjoying the present moment. Generally, if we are focused on the next thing in the future, we often miss out on what is right in front of us. This does not mean we should not put forth our best efforts or pursue things that make us happy, but the key is to focus on the present and actually experience and appreciate each moment.

How do I practice Aparigraha?

Aparigraha is usually translated as non-attachment. Non-attachment is one of the more difficult practices of the 5 Yamas, and usually means taking action without holding yourself to a particular outcome, or ‘letting go’ with others and enjoying their true self in your life without trying to assert your will on them.
The positive opposite of non-attachment is gratitude. I like a more active gratitude practice of writing a Top 5 list for what you are most thankful for today. I also enjoy practicing mindfulness to enjoy the moment and snap myself out of holding attachment to a particular outcome.
Most importantly, I find gratitude to be an instant hack to snap myself out of a negative mindset in any difficult situation – note this is a personal tool, and should not be used on others seeking support.

How to practice Aparigraha (Non-Attachment)

How to practice Aparigraha (Non-Attachment)

  1. Write a gratitude list

    Be grateful for the big and small things in your life. I like making a quick Top 5 list for the day! You may be grateful for physical things like your health or your long hair or your home or your beautiful garden. Perhaps you are most grateful for your family or friends or pets. You may be proud of something you accomplished or positive personal traits like humor or loyalty. Or, maybe you are grateful for past learning experiences or positive changes you see in yourself or the world. Moreover, these are tough times.. if you are proud for getting out of bed or taking a shower, or putting on pants for your zoom meeting, then celebrate small victories!

    This practice is about finding the joy and blessings in the moment. Therefore, focus your attention to positivity and abundance already in your life, rather than putting off your happiness for something in the future.

  2. Practice mindfulness

    Focus on the present moment, and savor your experience with all five of your senses. One of the easiest ways for me to release attachment to a situation is to practice gratitude and mindfulness, and enjoy the opportunity to grow and the beauty around me.

  3. Practice active non-attachment

    Take action without holding yourself to a particular outcome.

Asana Practices

Here are some Asanas (poses) and Asana series I feel embody the spirit of Aparigraha! Click the images to learn to how perform the pose or more about the Asana style!

Please note this section is currently under construction – please check back soon for more!

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana - standing hand to big toe pose - yoga pose girl glasses wearing black trippy cool background
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose (modeled by my dear friend @metalynith)

Meditation Practices

Here are some of my favorite meditations I feel embody the spirit of Aparigraha!

Morning Gratitude Guided Meditation

Guided Meditation on Non-Attachment.

Please note this section is currently under construction – please check back soon for more!

Aparigraha Quotes

  • sun peeking over mountain ridge, cloudy sky over mountains - Aparigraha  Quote: To those grounded in Aparigraha (non-attachment) the meaning of life is revealed. - Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • ominous clouds coming over high alpine snowy mountain - anxiety control Quote: Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. - Khahlil Gibran
  • close-up rusted mining equipment in dirt with fuzzy mountains in background - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: If you want to call attention to your good deed then it isn't a good deed, it's a self-serving one. Why? Not only have you patted yourself on the back but you're fishing for others to do the same. - Donna Lynn Hope
  • sun and bubbles in water tide gentle wave on beach - aparigraha non-attachment attachment peaceful Quote: The less attached you are the more peaceful you are. - anonymous
  • close-up conifer tree trunk branches with rainbow cool perspective - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: Gratitude turns what we have into enough. - Aesop
  • orange and purple beach sunset water rocky coast tide with tidal inlet with crashing waves in estuary - aparigraha non-attachment deattachment Quote: Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you. - Ali ibn Abi Talib
  • blue and orange cloudy alpine sunset in mountains with pine trees - aparigraha non-attachment attachment meaning Quote: Overcoming attachment does not mean becoming cold and indifferent. On the contrary, it means learning to have relaxed control over our mind through understanding the real causes of happiness and fulfillment, and this enables us to enjoy life more and suffer less. - Kathleen McDonald
  • orange and blue california sunset in the hills with shadowy shower shrub - aparigraha non-attachment Quote: What we have to learn, in both meditation and in life,  is to be free of attachment to the good experiences, and free of aversion to the negative ones. - Sogyal Rinpoche
  • close up red blooming succulent flower bud and fuzzy flower pot and dusty red succulent leaves and branches in background - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. - Cynthia Ozick
  • epic cloudy blue purple and glowing pink layered alpine sunrise in mountains with darkened pine trees and snow-capped mountain peaks - aparigraha non-attachment attachment Quote: The more attached we are to a vision of the future, the less present we are to what is actually trying to emerge here and now. - Peter Merry
  • mountain stream trickling down steep bright oxidized dirt cliff with dark green pine trees and felled dead fallen trees - brahmacharya moderation middle-path Quote: Attachment comes from a perception of lack - all comes from fear. - Yvette Soler
  • close-up bright green leaves and white dandelion - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. - Robert Brault
  • close-up bright blue flower with fuzzy background of green grass and leaves and brown rocks - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want. - Jim Rohn
  • cool perspective sunlit clouds in blue sky -aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote: Being attached is what prevents us from seeing, it is what clouds  this miraculous awareness. - Geoffrey Shugen Arnold
  • close-up dark green leafy agave with dark green and maroon succulents - aparigraha non-attachment let go Quote: Let go and be free. - Tony Robbins
  • cool perspective decordova sculpture garden shot of black twisting industrial abstract sculpture with background of new england forest under shade of green leafy trees - chaos non-attachment aparigraha creativity growth Quote: Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth. - Tom Barrett
  • cool perspective bright green plant leaves on brown tree in sunny park - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. - Epictetus
  • close-up of cool bright green plant blossoming - aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote:  Attachment is the state of ignorance or forgetfulness, and thus clinging to a memory of enjoyment. - Goswami Kriyananda
  • close-up of cool bright green succulent plants blossoming - aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote: Be aware of the ephemeral nature of material things. Lose your attachment to them. - Shui-ch’ing Tzu
  • cool perspective parking lot with trucks and street lights under cloudy sunrise - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: Gratitude turns negative energy into positive energy. There is no situation or circumstance so small or large that it is not susceptible to gratitude's power. - Melody Beattie
  • close up blue hydrangea flowers with green leaves - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. - Oprah WinfreyBe thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. - Oprah Winfrey
  • cool shot of cloudy blue and purple sunset over darkened pine trees - aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote: Stand in the reverent attitude to the whole universe, and then will come perfect non-attachment. - Swami Vivekananda
  • cool shot of cloudy gray sky over snowy landscape under red rocks - aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote: To Karma (action) alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction. - The Bhagavad Gita
  • cool shot of twilight in dark blue clear sky with crescent moon and evening star over reflective alpine lake among darkened mountains - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. - Tecumseh
  • cool shot close-up of dark red flowers - aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote: Non-attachment is not the elimination of desire. It is the spaciousness to allow any quality of mind, any thought or feeling, to arise without closing around it, without eliminating the pure witness of being. It is an active receptivity to life. - Stephen Levine
  • cool shot close-up of yellow flowers with dusty green leaves among succulents - aparigraha nonattachment detachment Quote: Nonresistance, nonjudgement, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living. - Eckhart Tolle
  • shot of white flower and green leaves growing up through sidewalk pavement - aparigraha non-attachment gratitude Quote: Reflect upon your present blessings— of which every man has many— not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. - Charles Dickens

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