We have been exploring the yamas, number 1 of the 8 limbs of Yoga. The yamas are the universal ethics; the foundations for a yogic lifestyle. Observance of the yamas progressively eliminates the temptations and distractions that create suffering in our lives, and take energy away from our focus, growth and progress on our path. It takes practice to understand and observe the yamas, but it is so worth it…the benefits of a kind, focused and clear mind are limitless for all areas of our lives.
The last of the yamas is aparigraha, and the translation from Sanskrit means without greed. On the surface, that seems clear – only taking or keeping what you need, not overindulging or hoarding. When we consume responsibly, we support a sustainable life, not only for ourselves, but for our community and planet. Being mindful about re-using and re-cycling matters more than ever…even small positive habits contribute to the health of our communities.
Aparigraha also points to a deeper letting go and non-attachment beyond just material things. We often cling to beliefs and judgments about our selves and our world that limit and create suffering – for ourselves as well as others. Sometimes we stubbornly hold onto habits of behavior and thinking that no longer serve us. Our yoga practice can help us develop the awareness to see our tendencies which hold on out of fear of some kind. As we practice, we build the courage and the openness to let go…and trust that we will always have what we need. Aparigraha encourages us to hold our life lightly, with an open hand, heart, and mind.