Aparigraha - non-possessiveness - अपरिग्रह
Aparigraha is one of the Yamas meaning “a, a prefix meaning “non”; pari, meaning “on all sides”; and graha, meaning “to take,” “to grab” or “to seize.” When we talk of Aparigraha we will often speak of freedom of possessiveness, greed and desire. In its purest form Aparigraha is asking us to let go of everything and be ok with it, it asks us to welcome the belief that things come and go, and holding on to thoughts and possessions can cause suffering.
Together we have experienced a global pandemic and for those who use the Gregorian calendar will also say 2020 was a year of many events that have changed the world. Naturally thoughts of what was before and what is expected are alive in us. By welcoming Aparigrha, we let go of what was, working with what is now. This means detaching ourselves from the desire of knowing what is going to happen in the future and instead concentrating on making the best of what we have in the present.
Choosing to discuss Aparigraha during the holiday season of December, is significant as this years festive season means traditional holiday celebrations we usually have will change. By using this practice here, we let go of expectation and anticipation then we welcome the practice of acceptance, and begin enjoying the present moment.
Aparigraha is a life practice. We can begin to let go of physical things, of things that do not serve us, the easiest being old clothes, books or furniture, the items we can see that may physically clutter our lives. By donating or selling unneeded items,it will have cleared physical space and provided something to someone who needs it.
We can welcome the practice of non possessiveness of our thoughts and begin to be an observer of those thoughts during meditation. This can support relief in stressful times, it can also help with perceiving our thoughts more rationally to help us have clearer judgement in our decisions.
In yoga asana practice we can welcome letting go of expectation.It can be the expectation of reaching full extension of poses or how we look while we practice. These are things that could hold us back from really enjoying our time on the mat.
Through practicing Aparigraha on the mat, this can then begin to be reflected on daily life and we begin to see our patterns of non-possessiveness more clearly and begin to implement these new awareness in everyday life.
“Non-accumulating simply means confidence in one's existence and in one's abilities. It is knowledge of one's self. You know how to make bread and know you can earn it. So you will not make bread for a whole year and store it. It will become stale,” explains Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
“Let your concern be with the action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of your action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction” – Krishna
“The root of suffering is attachment” – Buddha
“Non-attachment doesn’t mean that we don’t care, it allows us to fully experience the present moment.”
“By the observance of aparigraha, the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and trains his mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time.” –B.K.S. Iyengar
Picasso: “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary”
Begin your practice with a centering exercise, just noticing the inhale and exhale of your breath.Follow the pathway of your breath, in and out. Do not change anything just be still with your breath.
When arriving in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) begin to add a shaking meditation, for a few moments to a few minutes. Shake your arms, move them round, be loose in your hips and knees and bounce, just be free. It can help to release stagnant energy in the body and help clear your mind.
Arriving in Savasana before you fully rest and let go, take one breath through your nose and release the air through your mouth.
Poses to welcome in your practice:
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana - Pigeon
Anjanasana - Low Lunge
Balasana - Childs pose
Marjariasana /Bitilasana - Cat/Cow
Ustrasana - Camel
Malasana - Squat
Supta Jaṭhara Parivartānāsana-Supine twist
Nadi Shodaha or alternate nostril breathing, helps to calm and clear the mind to prepare for meditation.
Begin by inhaling through your nose, exhaling through your mouth.
Gentle long flow of breath.
Every exhale feel your body become more grounded,
Let the exhale help you to surrender your mid.
Feel your body melt in to the ground
Begin to focus on your breath
Acknowledge the thoughts you experience, but do not hold on to them. Rather observe them then bring your attention back to your breathing.
If you have a discomfort in your body, acknowledge it is there, observe it and send breath to it. Then return back to your breath.
Return back to the breath helping you to let go of holding on to thoughts and distractions during the mediation.
Wherever You go there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Everyday Ayurveda and Yoga at Hale Pule : Aparigraha: let go and let it flow