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Yama #5 Aparigraha

May 13, 2013

Aparigraha is the fifth and final Yama. It translates as non-greed, to be free from hoarding and collecting. 

The interesting thing about this Yama is that when you really think about it, you can find not-so-obvious ways to practice non-greed. For example, applying Aparigraha to my yogasana practice means not grasping at perfection in a pose when my body is not yet ready. Iyengar Yoga actually teaches the student Aparigraha by using appropriate props, and accepting the current ability of the body of that day in a pose, and asking for no more. 

How else can you practice Aparigraha? Most importantly, can you notice your personal habits in covetousness, and admit them to yourself so that you can make a positive change? We are all greedy, and this Yama challenges us to look for it, face it, and change. 

Consider also that being ungrateful is actually a state of greed. Having things and taking things without sincere and constant thankfulness is just your inner hoarding monster collecting more stuff. 

Be aware when greed becomes an emotional reaction to a situation. This is what helps us find the obscure ways we are greedy. Go one day on high alert for this one Yama, and see if you are surprised by how often greed controls your actions. 

Not only stuff, but experiences can be hoarded. The question is, what do you take or collect that you do not really need immediately? In this way, this Yama is similar to Asteya, non-stealing. How about this:  Do you ever describe yourself as insatiable, even if it is for something you consider to be of high value? Watch out… 

The whole point of this Yama is to prevent us from acting from a feeling of lack, and instead act from a feeling of abundance and gratitude. Practicing generosity helps to alleviate greed, as does clutter-clearing your house of unnecessary things. This Yama, like all of them, frees your spirit and allows your heart to soar. Image

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