Yoga, as described in the yoga sutra, is made up of an eight fold path , each limb is meant to guide us to living a happier, more purposeful life in the now. The first limb of the eight fold path, yama, deals with one’s disciplined integrity in behavior, the ethics of cleaning up one’s act. Yama is social behavior, how you treat others and the world around you. These are moral principles. Sometimes they are called the don’ts or the thou-shalt-nots.
The fifth and last of the yamas is Aparigraha, which translates to non-possessiveness. This is something that is getting more and more popular with minimalist trends and similar in our modern society.
Our whole society and economy is dependent on that we keep buying more and more. Our bodies even release happy hormones every time we swipe that card. But the more we have, the heavier we feel, and as a quick fix to that we buy even more, so the circle begins…
The more things we have and hold on to, the more we worry about losing them. By de-cluttering our homes and wardrobes, we spend less time worrying about looking after or losing them, giving us more time and energy to spend about things that we enjoy doing (read more about using your energy right here, where Brahamcharya, the fourth yama is explained).
Holding on to things can also create extra stress in our life, due to the constant change happening everywhere, inside our bodies and outside. For example, when we buy a new T-shirt we feel good, and we try to hold on to that feeling for as long as possible. Which makes sense, why wouldn’t we want to feel good? As that T-shirt eventually stops being new and exciting we buy another one to fill the gap.
We have become so used to living in this McDonalds society (where everything is available at any time and preferably as big as possible) that as soon as we start feeling that we are missing something we immediately want it, whether we actually need it or not.
We go to the gym or start a new diet and get frustrated when the results don’t show up quick enough. The next time your motivation to a healthy lifestyle starts fading or when you feel the need to buy another pair of jeans, stop for just a few moments. Breath.
Trying to look within, asking yourself, will this give me lasting happiness and peace or is skipping the gym just a quick fix? Appreciating the journey and not just the outcome is also a great way to practice aparigraha.
When we focus on what we will get out from the action rather than the action itself we
tend to feel like we are missing out. We are doing the same exercise as Jessica Alba (preferably in the same Sweaty Betty top) so that we can look like her. When we don’t wake up the next day looking like Jessica Alba we feel like we are missing out, wasting our time, not realizing that because of our focus on the goal, we missed out on the whole experience of the action.
So yes, that was a waste of time, because that part of our life will never come back and we wasted it on hoping it would be a different day, where we have a different body.
Non-possessiveness, non-greed means try to be in the here and now, not focusing on everything that you could have, that potentially could make you happier. Declutter and make room in your life for the things that really matter. This can also be applied to your yoga practice, try and not complicate things too much. If the cues the teacher says confuses you, if you have the sole of your feet firmly planted (in standing positions) and are keeping your spine long you are doing great. Or if you keep finding your mind wanders to what everyone else is doing, comparing, remind yourself of why you came to the practice. Or if you find yourself pushing hard to get in to a certain pose, b
e mindful of your own body, listen to what it is telling you right this moment. Breath.
This weeks class
Focus this week will be to twist our spines, wringing out
any toxins that we don’t need. Stimulating our inner organs, increasing blood and oxygen flow. And to open up our chest, helping us to get comfortable with feeling vulnerable, finding length so what we can stand tall and proud, helping us to let go