February: Aparigraha – Nonpossessiveness
Aparigraha invites us to live life to its fullest and yet be able to release our grip on
life so that we can live more harmoniously.
Aparigraha teaches us non attachment and the ability to “let go”. What’s beautiful about this, is that we can learn to live more holistically without the anxiety of having to attach our worth onto objects. We can learn to travel more lightly through the journey of life, while still caring deeply and enjoying completely. We can open ourselves up to fresh ideas, new relationships, and a happier state of being.
So how can we practice this day-to-day? We have the constant gift of the inhalation
and the exhalation of breath to remind us to be engaged without being attached.
What if we trusted life to unfold as it should, just as we trust our breath? Just
as our breath nourishes us, we also find nourishment from life events like our
jobs, relationships, homes, etc.. But if we attach to these things with expectations, disappointments, and opinions that disturb our ability to feel enjoyment, then we lose the nourishment the things brings us. If we hold too tight, the connections become toxic. Without even consciously realizing, we often forget to trust life, to inhale, to exhale, and let go.
Nonattachment doesn’t mean we don’t care, quite the contrary, it frees us up to be connected completely to the appreciation of life and in one another. Here are a few ways to work with Aparigraha this month:
Week 1: Practice pranayama more regularly and just let yourself be very aware of your inhale and exhale. Be aware of the fullness of breathing in life. This will help lead you to feel more relaxed, open, and present.
Week 2: Look at the physical things you have surrounding you. Notice if they make
you feel free or do they hold something over you? Can you identify what brings
you joy versus what is an expression of attachment?
Week 3: Look at the relationships you’ve cultivated in your life. Notice if they feel
fulfilling. Also, pay attention to your role in the relationships and ask if you have imposed expectations on others demanding fulfillment that you need and
how it leaves you feeling.
Week 4: Practice letting go. We often try hard to be perfect – in our yoga practice,
in our lives – and we miss the essence of the practice. Do your best, but then
remember to release the demand on yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.