“The guideline of Aparigraha invites us to let go and to pack lightly for our journey through life, all the while caring deeply and enjoying fully.” – Deborah Adele, Yamas and Niyamas
To everyone who has gone above and beyond to show love and support in my life and on my yoga journey: Thank you so much! I am trying to build a page where I can write mostly about yoga and wellness, but it’s taking longer than expected and I really want to start sharing! I’m making this blog post here to share some of the concepts that have nourished my entire being. After all, yoga is not limited to the mat. This experience is life changing!
As a part of my yoga teacher-training program, we are asked to report on different principles and asanas. This week, I was given the Yama or universal ethical code of “Aparigrha”.
Learning about this final Yama was so eye opening for me that I could not help but create this post. I truly take it as a gift that I was assigned this yama to study, although each of the Yamas have greatly influenced my life. I feel that a lot of us may experience the feelings discussed below without awareness of then or understanding of where they begin and how to overcome them.
Aparigraha is a reminder to be non-covetous, non-clingy and non-greedy. Distinguished from “Asteya” (non-stealing) which is concerned with taking what is not yours, “Aparigraha” (non-possessiveness) seems to be more concerned with the feeling of wanting what others have or clinging onto what you have. This greed-based desire is often rooted in fear and/or jealousy.
Here’s a very meaningful Instagram post that I came across on the topic of aparigraha in the form of “letting go”:
“The last Yama is the one that I struggle with the most in my life. Aparigraha encourages non-possessiveness and non-attachment in our lives. Whenever I experience unhappiness it usually traces back to my attachment to an outcome or to my expectations of others. True freedom is letting go and swimming in the uncertainty of life. Beauty and magic become available to us when we release the need to control and when we stop forcing our own solutions on situations. Find your truth in each moment along your journey, don't worry about the destination!” - @chintwins
And then I came across this excerpt from the book “Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele:
“What if we could trust life like we trust the breath? What if we could take in all the nourishment of the moment and then let it go fully, trusting that more nourishment will come? Just like the breath gives us nourishment, so does life in the form of homes, work, relationships, routines that bring ease, beliefs, stances, and images of ourselves. There is nourishment until we get attached to these things, often unconsciously, and then disturb ourselves with expectations, opinions, criticisms, disappointments, all because we forget to trust life, exhale, and let go. Like the breath when it is held too long, the things that nourish us can become toxic.” – Deborah Adele
There is freedom in letting go. That is why this message is so important. Trust that you can let go and that comfort/nourishment will continue to come to you.
Think of something new that you purchased. Now think of something old that you could give/throw away. Trust that you will find nourishment in new things/experiences and that the nourishment that you previously or currently value is not the only way.
Let's think about aparigraha as it is concerned with jealousy: to inhabit what someone else is, where they are in life, or what they have. Does “I want that” sound familiar? We ooh and aah over someone else’s bag, shoes, car, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, status, success, money, or happiness. And then we feel less than. The cycle of jealousy is infinite, unless you choose to step into your grace and step beyond it.
Think of something you want (an asana, a physical feature, a talent, an item). When you start to feel that jealousy bubbling up, remind yourself “aparigraha” then shift to gratitude. Stop for a moment and recognize something you do have that is amazing or something that could use some work. Celebrate the other person and what they have…and when you can merge with their excitement, that’s yoga, that’s union, that’s one-ness. Practicing aparigraha is celebrating what is your own and reminding yourself to reach for the stars rather than gazing at someone else’s. (Thank you to gala.com for all of the above information on aparigraha and jealousy that I pretty much copied because it was so well explained!)
Asana: Pasasana (Noose Pose)
From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), bend your knees and lower your hips to your heels. Rotate your torso to the left and bring your upper right arm to the outside of your left leg, with your hands in Anjali Mudra, or prayer position, at the heart. Inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale to twist deeper, wringing out that which you do not need and being grateful for what you have.