Aparigraha means non-grasping, non-hoarding, and letting go. Aparigraha is my all time favorite yama practice because of the freedom and openness it brings to my life. When we let go of that which does not serve us or bring us joy, we create space for more happiness, well-being, clarity, intuition and wisdom. How can we effortlessly let go of that which does not serve us? Or better yet, how can we know what isn’t serving us to begin with?
Aparigraha is synonymous with a minimalism or essentialism practice. It is the practice of taking only what you need or will use. The more ‘stuff’ you have on the outside, the less time you have to go inside to discover true self. In the same way that we let go of material items that we no longer need or will use, we can also energetically let go of limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, judgments, biases and identities that no longer serve us (and probably never have).
Ego. loves. attachment. Most importantly, be mindful of how you self-identify in your mind and your attachments to the titles you give yourself. Do you tend to identify yourself with more external titles such as ‘I am a doctor,’ ‘I am an MBA student,’ or with more internal observances such as ‘I am kind,’ ‘I am gracious,’ or simply, ‘I am’? One group is exceedingly more fulfilling than the other.
The final yama! I now send you out into the big, wide world to explore the first limb of yoga of your own. As you intentionally incorporate yamas into your life, you will soon see the expansiveness of the inward discovery towards self knowledge. Up next: the 5 niyamas.
‘It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.’Henry David Thoreau
Aparigraha Exercise: This is the perfect time to spring clean your space and get rid of things that no longer serve you nor bring you joy! Incorporate decluttering practices more frequently and bring awareness to where you tend to clutter your space; office, kitchen, mind, etc.
Aparigraha Mantra: I take only what I need or will use.
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