You can only lose what you cling to.

You can only lose what you cling to.

Note: one of our homework assignments for yoga teacher training was to write a short (five sentence!) dharma talk inspired by one of the yamas or niyamas in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Decided it couldn’t hurt to share it here as well–it’s as nice of a reminder on a Monday morning as it is at a yoga class. 

We’re living in a culture of attachment: we buy things to fill a void, we believe that more truly is more, we attach meaning and status to the things that surround us.

Buddha said “You can only lose what you cling to.” Sometimes we hang on so fiercely that our sense of self becomes hopelessly intertwined with the things that fill our life: the failed relationship, the expensive designer coat, or even our reputation as being a dedicated yogi.

Aparigraha is the concept of non-attachment in the yoga sutras: it reminds us to take what is truly necessary and no more, to understand that the only constant is change.

As you practice today, try to unclench and let go: stop clinging to what a pose should look like and breathe into it. Let go of the things that define you off the mat, and simply be here now with nothing but your breath. And, remember — you can only lose what you cling to.

  • I recently came across this quote in a book and couldn’t get it out of my head – so glad to come across it again on a Monday evening, it made my day.

  • Beautiful. It can be easy to forget that it isn’t just physical stuff that we can get unnecessarily attached to.

  • “You can only lose what you cling to.”- what a beautiful saying. Totally agree too!

  • Love this…my friend and I were actually talking about this exact topic this morning over coffee. We’re both stressed out by the thought of adding more “things” to our lives.

  • camorose

    Oh hooray! I’m so happy to hear that 🙂

  • camorose


  • camorose

    Yes–one of my new favorites!

  • camorose

    Yes–I’m actively trying to get rid of things as I bring more things in! Want to keep a balance.

  • Really good saying, definitely valid, but not to be misattributed: http://fakebuddhaquotes.com/you-only-lose-what-you-cling-to/#comment-31788