Yoga Philosophy: Aparigraha
The last in our series discussing the Yamas (the first of the 8 limbs of yoga), we’re having a look at the concept of Aparigraha.
This Yama is generally translated as ‘non-greed’ or ‘non-attachment’. The lesson associated with Aparigraha is pretty simple. It doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t want nice stuff. The moral guideline this is asking us to remember is that we should only take what we need and what serves us in the moment and to know when to let go.
This honestly makes me think of Australia’s great toilet paper fiasco.
Knowing what we need in any given moment means that we need to be mindful of both ourselves & others. We need to be able to be discerning and aware enough to be able to make decisions that serve us. This can be seen both on and off the yoga mat.
When we begin our yoga practice, are we attached (and do we have expectation) around where the practice will end up? And are we pushing ourselves towards that outcome even if our body is saying ‘please, not today’, or are we listening along the way and adjusting the way we move based on that open and aware discernment of only offering ourselves what we need?
In his yoga sutras, Patanjali says ‘when non-greed is confirmed, a thorough illumination of the how and why of one’s birth comes’.
That’s no small thing, right? So perhaps this idea of being aware, open & discerning and not simply filling up our space with more stuff is also allowing us to have the clarity to see our purpose. That sounds pretty delightful to me.
What’s your interpretation of this Yama?