Before taking yoga teacher training, I had never used the words surrender or non-attachment. These particular words peaked my interest, however, when I came to realize that they could change my life.
I would never have labeled myself as controlling, but I would have labeled myself as stubborn. This quality has made my life frustrating and irritating at times, causing worry, anger, etc. In my mind I always had a vision of how things should be—at work, in relationships, in families—but my vision and reality were two completely different roads, and I felt a bit lost at times.
Yoga philosophy has taught me to surrender, detach, and let go. Detachment has a connotation of carelessness, but it simply means being in the present moment. It means being aware of everything around you, yet not attached to any particular outcome or emotion that arises as a result. It means you no longer stand in avidya, or ignorance, seeing life from only your point of view. Instead, you open your mind to the many perspectives and realities that cross your path.
Letting go involves release of a need to control the details of life. It means being in the present moment—no matter the circumstances—with full awareness and gratitude. By practicing non-attachment to people, things, ideas, thoughts, jobs, and routines each day, you learn to accept that “things are as they are.” You realize that you have the choice to react or not, get irritated or not, get angry or not. The only things you can truly control are your thoughts, actions, and words.
With consistent practice of letting go and non-attachment you begin to feel peace within. With surrender, you are more able to connect to this peace, which brings clarity and ease into life, a flow of giving and receiving love.
For more in-depth information, read Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater, chapters 3 and 12, and Yoga Sutras 1:12 and 2:7-8.