YOMO Week 1 Philosophy: Vairagya: Detachment, Renunciation, & Letting Go

When you think of detachment, what comes to mind? Do you imagine the solace and bliss of a yogi on a mountaintop? Do you imagine leaving behind all the cares and responsibilities of the world?

Detachment doesn’t mean apathy or isolation. It’s just as easy for you to be consumed with the things you cut yourself off from. And when the yogi comes down from the mountain, they face the same desires and attachments they did before.

Detachment is not an active rejection that becomes a disturbance, but a practice in acceptance of that which we cannot control.

True detachment is a state of non-yearning: for what you have, what you don’t have, or ideas about yourself and the world around you.

Since we are most familiar with asana (posture) practice, you might start there to seek vairagya.

Vairagya is often misunderstood as disassociation with the world, but really it is a quality that opens up our ability to be compassionate, joyful, and content as we live in the world.

Instead of the usual “do, do, do” mentality – forcing a pose upon yourself – can you let go, be more compassionate to your needs, and listen to what your body is able to do in that moment?

Learn to move through the desires and/or dislikes you might have about a pose, a stretch, a movement, or whatever and you may experience contentment within yourself.

“Let go” and if you may experience “effortless effort” your read about in the Yoga Sutras.