4 powerful ways to practice aparigraha
Wait a sec, but what is aparigraha??
Aparigraha is one of the fundamental principles of yoga meaning non-grasping, non-greed, non-possessiveness. It’s an ability we can cultivate by being mindful of how much we take VS how much we actually need. It's a balance of the material gains VS non-material values. It's a balance of taking/receiving and letting go.
There are several ways to practice aparigraha, and you can do it on the mat, off the mat, and in everything that you do.
1. Let go
Create a ritual where you regularly "audit" your life, your work and your home. What is serving you well? What is no longer serving you and is ready to be released? Is there too much clutter in your house? Is there a toxic friendship that is weighing you down or sabotaging your self-worth? Be honest and kind, and practise releasing what doesn't belong in your life any more. If you find yourself holding on/having difficulty releasing, look inside and ask yourself why.
2. Zoom in on your home and fiercely de-clutter
Remember Marie Kondo's signature statement: "Only keep what sparks joy". Our homes are a great example of our mind space. The more organised your home, the more organised your mind and your life. Clear the space around you, and you'll feel more clear and less distracted inside your head, too. Plus, giving away what you don't need or are not using might really help someone in need.
3. Nourish yourself with the right food, in the right amount
Here there are two main approaches: if you are 100% satisfied with your body (shape + health), your current lifestyle and diet are probably working out just fine, and you're doing something right! If however, you live in a state of dissatisfaction with your body or diet, don't wait for a miracle and get some help. There are some amazing nutritionists out there who can help you find out what can be improved in terms of the quality and quantity of what you eat to contribute to better health and self esteem for years to come. There are even nutritionists who can analyse your vitamin and mineral deficiencies and your DNA and tell you what's the right diet specifically for you (I'm just about to try it!). Working with a nutritionist might be one of the best decisions you've ever made for yourself, and it changed my life when I started years ago. Don't postpone it, it won't get any easier the longer you wait.
And whatever you do, don't overindulge when you know you ate enough. Teach yourself to listen to your body when it tells you it's full. That's aparigraha in action.
4. Practice gratitude
Remind yourself that you are deserving of all the wonderful things in life. Aparigraha is not there to limit you or to make you miserable, it's actually there to help you live a happier life without a feeling of lack or a need to collect or hoard stuff.
Attachment and hoarding come from a place of lack. Luckily, yoga and meditation remind us that we are already whole and complete, and having more than we need won't necessarily make us happier. Taking the time to practice mindfulness and gratitude (how about a gratitude journal?) will remind you of how much you already have and how precious people, experiences and the non-material things in your life really are.
Happy un-grasping and un-hoarding - looking forward to hearing about your experience!