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Our hope in providing a studio theme at Kula each month is to deepen your understanding of the philosophy behind yoga, so you can start living yoga both on and off the mat. We hope that last month you were able to invite Ahimsa (non-violence) into your everyday life. This month let’s take a look at Aparigraha, non-possessiveness.

Apar- what?

Aparigraha means taking only what is is necessary. This requires presence and being in tune with the “why” behind our actions. Honoring aparigraha allows us not to take advantage of situations or accept more than we deserve. Aparigraha also means not holding on so tight, and being kind and generous in all aspects of our lives. Become aware of what you actually need, including physical and mental clutter, clear out what’s no longer serving you.

Act with Aparigraha

On the mat we can observe this yama by moving through our practice mindfully and not pushing ourselves past the limit. It can also mean letting go of the harsh standards we set for ourselves. For example, you may find that obsessing over a certain pose day after day becomes exhausting and the results aren’t usually positive. But when we soften our grip, and release expectations, one day (with much practice) we can master postures that seemed out of our reach.
Off the mat you can use Aparigraha anytime you feel overcome by a bout of selfishness. Ever have those days when you feel like the whole world is against you? Aparigraha teaches us to be generous, even when those around us don’t seem to be reciprocating. Be more generous with compassion, with breath, and with forgiveness- both to yourself and to others. Try this: take a look around your home and notice those objects that bring you joy. Anything else that’s just “stuff,” consider donating to those less fortunate.
How do you celebrate Aparigraha? Join us on the mat to learn more about this yama.
About the author: Miranda Raimon is a yoga instructor, Kula studio manager and freelance health & wellness writer from the San Francisco Bay Area.