Aparigraha non-attachment

Aparigraha – do for the sake of doing

The fifth Yama – Aparigraha

On the battlefield in the ancient yogi text, the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells warrior Arjuna, “Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction.”

Now, Arjuna’s situation is a little more extreme than most of us will experience on a day-to-day basis. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from Krishna’s advice to practise Aparigraha, the fifth Yama.

Interpreting Aparigraha as non-attachment, helps us ‘to do’ or ‘to be’ without attachment to the outcome of a situation.

Interpreting Aparigraha as non-attachment, helps us ‘to do’ or ‘to be’ without attachment to the outcome of a situation.

To do for the sake of doing.

And to be for the sake of being.

But what does that look like in modern life?

aparigraha let go

Do as I say not as I do!

Time for a little insight into the workings of my mind! Be gentle!

Before ‘discovering’ yoga, I worked in the fitness industry for 20 years where the mantra was ‘no pain, no gain’. Pushing yourself to the next level was normal and expected. Clients looked up to me as an example of what fitness should be.

I taught up to 15 fitness classes a week – kettlebells, BodyPump, Circuit Training, Zumba, Cardio Kickboxing!

In the majority of these classes, I was working as hard as the participants and getting the same buzz of adrenaline at the end of each session.

On top of that I was walking a lively young border collie in the mountains for an hour or more each day!

You would think that would be enough exercise for anyone!

Looking back, I can see that I was obsessed with the feeling that I got from training.

I would get up at 5am to do my own strength training because teaching classes wasn’t a ‘proper’ workout!

When out walking the dog, I would look for the tallest, steepest hills to climb – much to the dismay of my poor mother when she came with me!

This is an example of me NOT practising Aparigraha!

I was greedy for the high exercise gave me. The more I got it, the more I wanted it.

Yoga has taught me to detach my emotions and sense of self-worth from my physical practice – whether it’s yoga, biking, climbing or any other sport.

I have a ‘do it for the sake of doing it’ approach to all physical activity these days.

There’s no such thing as a good or bad workout or bike ride. It’s all experience. It is time you take for yourself or with your friends / family.

And the interesting thing is, even though I’m not goal-focussed like I used to be, I’m stronger and have better control over how my body moves than ever before!

Does any of this resonate with you? Do you practice with an end-goal in mind?

Aparigraha quote

Less, less, less?

Aparigarha is non-greed, non-possessiveness etc.

Greed is a more, more, more attitude.

Thus, practising Aparigraha would be it’s opposite – less, less, less! (Remember how I love positive reframing!)

Well, there’s one area where I fail miserably at this!

I’ve tried to be a minimalist.

I’ve cleared out drawers of clothing and excess ’stuff’ no end of times. Yet, I still seem to ‘acquire’ more!

I decided I wanted to only buy second-hand or handmade to help the environment and to support charity shops and small businesses.

I thought this would stop me from buying as much ‘stuff’.


It turns out there is SO much amazing second-hand ’stuff’ that I simply can’t resist!

Likewise, if someone tells me the bracelet or ring they are selling is handmade then I’m doomed!

As you can see from my picture, I’m a sucker for shiny things!

Personally, I don’t have a problem with this.

I don’t expect new things to ‘make me happy’. I earn a decent wage and I’m spending my money as ethically as possible, I’m doing my bit to keep the economy afloat, supporting small business and donating regularly to charity. Everyone wins, right?

In the end, maybe minimalism just isn’t for me. However, that’s OK, isn’t it?

aparigraha non-greed

Time to let go?

OK, enough about me; it’s your turn!

Can you imagine doing something with all your heart and letting go of what might come of it?

We’re so accustomed to receiving verbal feedback, praise, a pat on the back that it’s an alien concept to draw a picture that nobody will every see, to write a story that nobody will read, to perform a perfect handstand and never show it off to the world!

Even when we don’t share the fruits of our labour with others, we often ‘do’ with purpose and give ourselves either positive or negative feedback on our progress.

Can you think of any examples in your every day life where you could let go of attachment to the outcome?

Try it out and let me know how it goes. I can’t wait to hear your experience with Aparigraha! Why not keep the conversation going on social media?

Remember to get in touch if you have a great idea for a workshop or blog post!



PS I’ve found so many inspiring affirmations to choose from that I thought you might like to see them all and choose your own.

I’ve added a few of my own into the mix and listed them from the inside out – starting with the ones that apply to you and moving down the list to those that affect the wider society.

• I create inner fulfilment.

• I am being for the sake of being.

• I am doing for the sake of doing.

• I honour myself as I cultivate simplicity.

• I am filling my cup with self-love so that I don’t need to find things to fill it.

• I understand that what is meant for me will be for me effortlessly.

• I let go of attachment to feelings of disappointment and accomplishment.

• I recognise that each moment is new and I have no expectations based on past experience.

• I am practising yoga for the love of practising.

• I recognise the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’.

• I release attachment to other people, to dreaming, to achieving success in my actions.

• I give freely without expectation of receiving.

• I unsubscribe to the ideology that consumerism equals happiness and success.

• I commit to taking only what I need, whether it be food, clothes or other material goods.

• I recognise the impermanence of all things.

• I recognise that being less greedy with natural resources and financial wealth leads to less suffering on the planet.

• I support responsible methods of food production so that our natural resources and species do not become extinct.

Which one resonates best with you today?

PS Get in touch if you have a great idea for a workshop or blog post!

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