Aparigraha: The Art of Letting Go with Kristen Hutchinson
Join Kristen & Alex for their Monday morning chats live in the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook Group. In this conversation they're discussing the fifth yama, aparigraha, the art of letting go. They discuss various strategies and practices to let go and how they honor this in their lives. Are you interested in learning more about the philosophy of yoga? Join Alex & Kristen for the next online 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training - the next group starts in early October online.
Hi, friend. This is Alex McRobs, founder of The Mindful Life Practice, and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23, and I never went back. I got sober in 2019, and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga, and change their lives through my online Sober Girls Yoga community. You're not alone, and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how. Welcome back to everyone. Anyone that is listening to the podcast, we just did a little intro, but this is our first Monday back on our yoga philosophy talks. I feel like this whole thing is the perfect build-up for our theme today, which is Aparigraha, letting go, because sometimes things just don't work out the way you planned. I'm okay. I don't need a flashlight. I'm thank you. That's my mom. Sometimes things don't work out as you plan. Aparigraha is just letting go and going with the flow. That's actually perfect intro to the topic. How would you define Aparigraha for you? What does that mean for you? I think it honestly regularly evolves and it can mean various things based on the different aspects of life. I think the one that I was thinking about the most for me is around, actually, because Aparigraha talks about letting go, and that can mean various things. It could mean letting go of physical objects. It could mean letting go of memories. It could mean letting go of whatever feeling we might be clanging to. It could mean people. It could mean so many different things. But one of the biggest things that I was thinking about this weekend with this is around memories as well as forgiveness, whether that's for others or for self. That's one of the things that I've been focusing on more lately because I kept having these memories just from my past come up and I realized how much I would cling to them and they would just be the story that I would have on repeat in my head. And we attached to whatever it is. Like maybe we're in a new relationship and attached to the honey and phase of the relationship. Maybe we went through a breakup and we're attached to the feeling of the hurt, or maybe we're clinging to someone who no longer we're with and no longer cares for us or whatever it is. Or we lost someone, whether it be actually through passing or through something ending, and we cling to that. I think we talked about before this story with my dad, how I cling to this one story that I was telling myself on repeat. That became where my energy went, where my focus went and it just became the thing that I told myself ongoing. I was thinking about it over the weekend of how sometimes this is fine and we have a positive memory and we cling to it and it brings us joy, it brings us energy, and it's not negatively taking from us. I think those scenarios, it's okay to have that positive memory with you. But when you're holding on to something maybe a little bit more on the negative side, it can really have a little bit of an unhealthy attachment to the past. I think it's been learning to release that and let that go because it was actually interesting. I was talking about this with the Deep Dive group last Monday about how late some of these yamas are. And so when we think about letting go of a memory, it could be because when we think about brahmacaria and energy expenditure, our energy is being directed in a negative way that doesn't fill us up. It doesn't bring or contribute anything positive to our lives. That's something I was thinking about a lot of is like, how can I start to release some of these negative memories or negative stories that really don't serve me? And that's where then forgiveness can come into play. Sometimes there's an element of hurt or loss or whatever it is, and it may require actually forgiving a person or yourself. It could be a mistake that you made or something that you're beating yourself up for that may be contributed to the loss of a job, a relationship, whatever, and you're having a hard time letting go of the forgiveness to yourself. So then that element of either self-forgiveness or forgiveness of others comes in. And when we enter into non-forgiveness, we enter this vicious cycle with our energy. We're just in this circular path. So when we choose to forgive ourselves or others for mistakes, we can release that energetic badge that comes with it, which isn't easy. And again, I think I talked about this in another Yama, forgiveness doesn't mean allowing the people back into your life. You're just releasing that energetic hold that it has, which I think is just a really beautiful practice of. A Paragrah. Wow. So many wise things just in that. I'm like, Where do I even start with that? There's so much wisdom. Well, I'm wondering, actually, I have a question which came up for me that I thought I would ask you is someone recently... Maybe it was in our yoga suture study, someone recently was asking like, Okay, we talk about letting go, letting go so much, but how do we actually do that? And I'm just wondering, what has worked for you in the practice of letting go? Yeah, that's a really great question. And I think it's hard to give a direct answer because I think it looks different for everybody. For me, I think the practice of yoga and breath work have really helped me just be more in my body and releasing. And so sometimes it's like visualization, meditations that work for people, like your cord cutting one, for example. That energetic tie gets cut between you and whatever it is. It doesn't have to be a perfect person. It could be like a memory, an object, whatever. For others, it might be movement and actually releasing it through the physical body, through your practice. It could be the breath work. It could be journaling, journaling everything that you want to let go of and maybe you burn that piece of paper. That's a really beautiful practice as well. I think it's no perfect way and sometimes it's an exploration of what works because what works for me that might not resonate at all with you, for example. I love that answer. That's so wise. And I would add to it, just like you said, being open to so many things. Part of my journey has been I try to allow myself to be open to anything that appears on my path. And an example of that is like I did hypnotherapy for the first time. I don't know if I've told you about the story of me trying hypnotherapy. It was actually not on purpose. I was trying to go for Reiki. I was in a really troubled state over something that had happened, and I called the Healing Center on my island to be like, I had asked for a day off work. I was like, Can I do Reiki? Sorry. This is so creepy. Mom was walking around behind with a flashlight. We're in a power outage. I was like, I saw that and I'm like, Susan. Yeah. Our outage, we're in the middle of. But yeah. So I called the Healing Center and I said, Can I book Reiki? And they didn't have their Reiki healer. And I said, Can I book angel card reading? And they said, We don't have the angel card reader. And I was like, Okay, who do you have in? They said, Our Hypnotherapist. And I was like, Okay, I'll book that. And that's an example of like I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn't think I Googled what is hypnotherapy and I just went. And I just went and it was so transformative that I speak so highly about it to everyone. I recommend it to people now. I've done it with a few different people. I've done it with Caled. I've done it with a woman called Susan. I have my Hypnotherapist that I first saw in Abu Dhabi. That's an example of like I would have never been open to something like that. And I just try to do everything that comes along my path, whether it's psychic, hypnotherapy, yoga, meditation, anything. Yeah, absolutely. That's so true. I think that's such beautiful advice because I think we can get stuck in our ways of just wanting to be closed off, not wanting to explore something new. When we do, you have no idea what path it's going to take you on. There's a whole potential another set of doors that open as a result of that. As a worst-case scenario, it doesn't resonate, it doesn't land. But what did you lose from the experience, nothing. Totally. That's so true. What has been challenging for you in your life. To. Let go of? I think self-forgiveness has been a really challenging one for me. I think we all hold ourselves to a little bit of a higher standard, which is totally fine. But I try to remind myself what would I tell a friend in this scenario? What would I tell a family member? You would tell them to forgive yourself, let go, move on. It happened, learn from it. But we have a hard time doing that for ourselves. That's been a challenge for me. Then also, I'm getting way better at this, but for the longest time, it was actually just making time for self-care. Because that's actually a really beautiful practice of a power ofAparigrahais the need to cling and hold on to things often comes down to lack mentality, scarcity, insecurity, all of that thing. When we look to others, I was huge on this. I looked to others to answer my life. I was like, What should I do? Versus tuning inwards and listening to like, What do I want to do? We become so reliant on other people to direct our lives that we've almost just no longer in the passenger seat. We're no longer in the driver's seat of what our lives are. We rely so heavily on others. We lose our independence. That was me for, I don't know, two decades of my life, I think. I just was not able to make a decision. I would always seek what other people would do to answer the question because I couldn't hear what my inner voice was telling me, what my intuition was telling me. When you bring in self-care into your life, it's a way of learning how to rely on yourself and learning how to be in touch with yourself and become more confident, more independent, and more secure within yourself. Then it releases that need to rely on other people in a way that's unhealthy. In a way that's dictating what your life should be or what you should do, what the answer is to your problems, or even those unhealthy attachments in relationship. It allows you to become more secure in yourself. When I started to invite yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, going for a walk, having a bubble bath into your life, you develop a connection with yourself that just allows you to let go of that reliance on others and cultivate this sense of secureness and confidence, independence, whatever it is, in your own being. Then you can start to hear what it is that you want. What is it that your life you want your path to look like and how can you do things to contribute to that versus having someone else drive that? I think that's actually been my biggest challenge when I say that out loud now, was my reliance on others in an unhealthy way. Yeah, I love that. And it's amazing how these patterns sometimes are just from our childhood and they just keep going on and keep going on. I remember one of my teachers saying once that we've all been sold a story about who we are, like a story about the character that we play in this story, and we keep carrying through our whole life with it. And some people will live their whole life being that character. And then some people will end up hitting a wall where you're like, This isn't working for me. I have to go the other way. And it's like coming to that realization and then the changes that you make. And it's so hard because you're like, This is who I am, and starting to understand like, No, this is not who I am. I can do this a little differently. Yeah, absolutely. I think as a kid, I was always told, Oh, you're such an unsettled kid. Like I could never figure out what to do with myself. I always had to be around someone else for me to feel safe and calm. I remember my mom saying to me recently, I was like, Oh, I realized I really struggled with anxiety. Why don't you tell me? I'm like, I was five. How do you be like, I'm feeling anxious? You can identify what it is that you're feeling. As an older, more wise person, you can look back and be like, Oh, this is what I was struggling with. But to others, you're perceived as someone who doesn't want to listen and can't sit still, needs other people. But when you peel that apart, there's something underneath that that's not who you are, but maybe something that needs your attention and healing. Yeah. Wow, that's so powerful. Okay, so we're talking a lot about our relationships, our personality, some of the ways we move through the world in relation to others has what we've been talking a lot about. I want to add one thing to this, which is also about our physical stuff and the reason why is it's just popped into my head. I have this awesome friend who I know quite a few Mindful Life Practice people have signed up for her program. She actually was one of my yoga students back in Abu Dhabi years ago, and she started a business now where she helps people de-clutter. And so she's doing something in September where it's like 30 days of de-cluttering on day one, and you get rid of one thing. Day two, you get rid of two. Day three, you get rid of three. And by the end of it, you've gotten rid of 465 things. Now, I said I was going to do it, but I'm actually not living in my house this month because my mom is here. And so. I've put it aside until next month. But that's been one of my biggest practices as an expat is like, every time I get to a new place, I just collect things. And then I don't have to let them go. I know quite a few people who live the same way I do, and they just pack it all up in a shipping cart and ship it around the world. But to me, that always seems just crazy to have all this stuff and just keep sending it around knowing that I'm not using it. And so each time I transition, it's like this opportunity to let go. And I'm just wondering if you've experienced this at all with physical stuff or what's your experience on with physical objects? Yeah, no, I love that. I really need to do that challenge as well. I'm good. I get into moods to purge very often, so I regularly go through my stuff, but that was not always something that I did. I used to also just collect, collect, collect, and then there was a story behind each object that I didn't want to let go of that story because I think often we can feel that our memory is in the object, whereas the memory is in our being and it's in our hearts, right? So I was telling the group this. When my dad passed, I collected a bunch of his stuff and brought it home with me. I think I had a bunch of his clothes. I have his wedding ring, I have his passport from when he was a teen and all this different stuff. Some of those objects have meaning. I'm not going to get rid of his wedding ring because I can repurpose that and I can use it for myself or on a necklace or whatever. But I brought home shirts that he hated. He absolutely hated them and he never wore them. But to me, it was so hard to get rid of because that was something my dad owned. But when I broke it down to see what I was feeling, it was another layer of letting him go. I think there's sometimes a fear of if we let that object go, we somehow let that person go. He's in my heart. He's with me in pictures and memories and all these other things, and he absolutely never or even wore those shirts. There's no memory of him even in that shirt. I let go of some of those objects. There was a definite layer and feeling of guilt in letting those go because it felt like I was somehow maybe telling him he didn't matter or telling him that. Sometimes it's even just talking to the object when you're letting it go and just saying, I love you. You've served a beautiful purpose. I'm releasing you to bring joy to the next person who receives you type thing. There's an element of just relief and peace when you do it with that way. Because I think that's so true for so many of our objects. We see a person, we see a memory in them, and you feel sad to let that go. If you just reframe the thought around it and how that object can bring so much joy to maybe the next person, then it becomes a little bit easier. I think, too, I don't know if this rings true for you, but often if we have a lot of stuff, your mind can just start to feel cluttered because it takes in the energy of your space. I was finding that too, and I was just feeling like I couldn't really think properly or just felt like I just had a lot. The practice of letting go through physical objects actually creates a lot of space in your mind and in your body. It's so true. What I've experienced in my life in the past, especially in my transition from Abu Dhabi to Bali, it's been less linear. It's been a lot of back and forth and a lot of things left at one person's apartment... And then right now, for example, I just have had one suitcase for pretty much a month because I've been with my mom going to all these different places and then we're in this other villa. And then I think about the stuff that's back in my house. I'm like, I don't even know what's in my house. I don't use any of it, obviously, because I haven't had to go home and get anything. All I had to go home and get was my motorbike and my cat. And so it's like, I don't actually need those things. I'm finding. I'm staying in a place right now that's been subletted through a few different people. And one of the girls came over to pick up a bunch of her stuff, one of the girls who originally leased the house. I think about that too. There's all this stuff which I agreed to. I said, Yeah, you can leave your stuff here. And then when I actually moved in, I'm like, There's just so much shit in this. Space that I'm like. What even is this? Who is this? What is this? Why is this here? But again, that's also temporary and that's not my actual space, which I'm soon to be transitioning out of that. I want to open up. I want to pull up the Facebook and see. I'm like, Is this live video still in the group? I don't even know. Has anyone made any. Comments on it? Because I'm not even sure. Usually, I have it up on the side, but I can't see it anywhere here. I don't know if we're. Still live. I'm really sorry for everyone. If people are watching live and commenting, I can't… Can you see it, Kristen, on. Your phone at all? I'm just checking. Because I don't see it anywhere. So I do. I see it. Oh, you do? Oh, we. Are live. Has anyone called. You today? I do. I don't see it. Let me just... Oh, sorry, it's playing on my phone. Don't worry. There's a lot of highs and stuff. I don't see any questions. It's so funny. This has been such an exercise in letting go because normally I have it so organized, it's up on the side. I'm responding to comments. There's lights. For anyone that's come on and they're like, Why is Alex in the dark? I'm in a power outage. I'm like, if you're watching live. We'll have to keep the video of this because it makes it. Super special. Okay, I'm going to pull up. So at the end of this, we normally do... We. Share a few things. So here are some different practices for Aparigraha. So you can practice letting go, obviously, but practicing non-adjudgment in areas of your life where you feel like you're too attached or you're too relied on something. You can fully enjoy each moment without needing it to repeat, like not holding on to it. You can try to live with curiosity and not expectations. I know that's one of my biggest things is my expectations on who the people will be in my life when in reality. Just being present with who they are is a lot healthier. I love that one. Just letting go of control, being willing to be surprised and practicing generosity and trust. And some prompts could be like, what expectations do I have for my friendships, my partner, my family? What possessions or material things could I start de-cluttering or detaching from? What purchases? Is this purchase enriching my inner world and my life? Or could I refrain from it? If I'm honest with myself, do I really need more things? And if I do, what do I actually need? I love that. One thing when you just said, Be generous, it made me think about one of the biggest things that I think sometimes people refrain from doing because they think that they're somehow going to lose something is actually sharing knowledge. That's one thing that I love about this community is we so willingly share and inspire each other and share whatever wisdoms we have. There's so much, I think we talked about this one of the other ones, there's just so much collective wisdom in this space and there's so much learning that you can give. That's one of the biggest ways to be generous. Sure, there's giving away your objects without needing to receive anything in return, but it's also just sharing your knowledge and what you've learned that someone else might find a little nugget out of it that can then enrich their lives. I love that. Is there anything else that we want to share before we wrap it up? I'm just reading my little notes for myself here. I'm always so impressed with you, by the way. Kristen comes in with notes, such wise shares, and I just look forward to this every week because I feel like I learn a lot and get really grounded. Thank you. I love doing these and I love... It's really healing and grounding me too when I go through and make my notes because then you learn something each time of like, Oh, I could be focusing here more. But no, I think that's just... Yeah, that's that's to that I think. Amazing. For anyone that's tuned in, if this is your first time joining, we took a little five week break or so, however many weeks off of this, and we're back. And we meet every week on Mondays at this time to talk about yoga philosophy. We've just closed up or completed the Yama, which are the first of the eight limbs of yoga, which are our moral obligations or our moral practices. And next week, we're transitioning to the Niomas, which are like inner world practices. So we'll be covering those for the next five weeks. And if you want to learn more from me and Kristen or work more with us beyond this live Facebook, Kristen is my right-hand woman, my go-to for pretty much everything we do with Mindplay Practice. So we do 200-hour yoga teacher training and she co-teaches that with me. And we also run 30-day challenges, which we haven't done in a while. We haven't had a new group in a while, but I'm feeling really reinspired right now because so many of our 30-day challenges are hitting their one year from last year. Last year we had one 30-day challenge every… We had July, August, September, and they were all really big groups, 15 women. And there's quite a few women that were in the program for the whole year and are now at one year. And it's just been amazing to witness and see and shout out to Calleigh, who's watching this. I know she would be okay with me saying this because she put it. Publicly on Facebook, but she's. Going to be one year in a few weeks. And she just was our speaker on Sunday. It was just incredible. So heartwarming. And yeah, so we do those three-day challenges. So if you're still on the fence with sobriety and you're like, I'm curious, I'm not ready, I want a group to go with, we do that. And I'm sure we'll be starting another group soon, so. Stay tuned. Amazing. And congratulations, Kelly. Yes, congratulations, Kelly and a few other people posted in this group. I can't remember who. I also don't want to say their name publicly on the podcast. But few. Other. People posted that they're. In that group too, which is amazing. Amazing. Now, it's time for me to find out. I think we're supposed to be going to dinner next and we're going to find out if there's a generator in the kitchen. But I think there is because there's some lights along the path. I think there's a generator for the main stuff in this hotel, but stay tuned. This is a real Bolly experience. All. Right. Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you, Kristen. And we'll see you all next week. See you soon. All right. Hi, friend. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast. This community wouldn't exist without you here, so thank you. It would be massively helpful if you could subscribe, leave a review, and share this podcast so it can reach more people. If we haven't met yet in real life, please come get your one week free trial of the Sober Girls Yoga membership and see what we're all about. Sending you love and light wherever you are in the world.