The Road to Non-Attachment
The yoga lifestyle observes an eight limb path that includes social and personal codes of behavior called Yamas and Niyamas. Social codes or "Yamas" include Non-violence(Ahimsa), Truthfullness(Satya), Non-stealing(Asteya), Celibacy(Bramacharya), and Non-posessiveness(Apiragraha). The personal code, "Niyamas" include Cleanliness(Shoucha), Contentment(Santosha), Austerity(Tapas), Self-Study(Swadhyaya), and Surrender to God(Ishvara Pranidhana). The first two limbs of the eight limb path outline a way to live, the additional six limbs involve practice. Postures(Asana), Control of Breath(Pranayama), Withdrawl of Senses(Pratyahara), Concentration(Dharana), Meditation(Dhayana), and the final stage, Deep Meditation(Samadhi).
Following this path is intended to bring the mind under control, and help us strip away our bond with attachments. "With yoga our minds become one pointed. Yoga can develop a higher consciousness and free ourselves from worldly attachments and pleasure, or bliss." So you can see practicing yoga is much more involved than "body beautification" but more like a train that builds momentum and you can't get off because you don't want to. It involves a dedication to practice and an unfolding of our Karmic lives.
Attachment is part of everyone's life. Family, Money, Fame, Food, etc.....Yoga begins this process of letting go of attachment as our consciousness rises. Ram Dass refers to the letting go of attachments as a snake shedding its skin. You can't pull it off, you have to wait till it is ready to fall off. One by one they do and sometimes we put the skin of attachment back on. Not ready to give up on something, love for instance. This is a good example because it seems the most illusive and can bring the most suffering.
Defining attachments later in life becomes a more subtle process as well. Yogis who are householders for instance, get married, have families, fulfill the levels of their Chakras in traditional ways but remain free from attachment and gain fulfillment. These different paths of those who live in an ashram and those who live in the city may be explained by the individual's Karmic Path. The reality might be that theroad is pre determined, you are done before you even start. You have a life to live. To burn Karma, austerities or add Karma or impurities. While this pre determined path unfolds, if Samadhi is the ultimate goal then being consistent and staying pure in mind, body, and speech(Om Mani Padme Hum) by practicing the Eight Limb Path is the way. With all the distraction in life, one can see the urgency to being dedicated to the eight limb path. Holding on to less distraction so the attachment can fall away and thus make living easier and the goal of enlightenment closer.
A movement toward less attachment is present in the world today. Not just in Yoga but with Buddhist householders that refer to themselves as "Urban Monks". Just like artists that work to afford the ability to make art. The artist is living a life dedicated to a single purpose. In a way it may sound or feel like giving up everything, but what we are giving up(attachments) in some cases is what is holding us back from having an uncluttered mind. At some point I am sure everyone asks the question, "Why". Why am I doing this? The answer might lie in the idea that we need to complete our personal journey that is filled with illusion(Maya) and attachment so we can break free from it.
Yogi, Non-yogi, Artist, Householder, or Buddhist, wether we like it or not, we are all on the road of life. We are surely determined to make decisions that will effect the outcome of our lives, and though the outcomes are different, we are all on the same road to non attachment.