February, 2024 by Sophie Malouin
Aparigraha is the fifth and final Yama (moral restraint) laid out by Patanjali in the Eight Fold Path of Yoga. Aparigraha is a Sanskrit word that translates to non-hoarding, non-clinging, or non-greediness. I actually just practiced Aparigraha. I wrote this entire blog post last night and at some point throughout my day it ended up in the trash. Gone, never to be seen again. My usual (very human) response to this sort of thing is sheer panic and dread. I don’t know if it’s because I had the time to examine this Yama in great detail yesterday but instead of getting worked up about it, I just figured the blog post would be better the second time around. I guess you will never know 😉

Aparigraha is actually quite trendy right now. Turn on Netflix and you will see shows ranging from tiny homes, minimalism, and Marie Kondo’s movement to Spark Joy. There’s a reason why all of these topics are so hot right now. Spoiler alert: it’s because the practice of non-clinging can drastically improve the quality of your life. Not to mention the impact it has on our planet.

I’ve enjoyed the podcast “The Minimalists” for quite some time now. I think the hosts, Ryan and Josh, do a wonderful job of covering the vast range of ways that we can practice non-clinging. Here’s something that I learned from them… Every time I am faced with the decision to make a purchase I ask myself:

  1. Does it add value to my life?
  2. Can I afford it?
  3. Do I need it?

If the answer to even one of those questions is no, I don’t make the purchase. Or I do make the purchase and experience guilt, shame, and the impending doom of the climate crisis (hahaha… but actually).

If you know me, you KNOW that I have been wearing the same Roots Leather Boots since 2014. They are not the trendiest boots on the market, but they are waterproof, slip proof and despite many winters of wear and tear, they are still in pretty good shape. If you happen to live in Canada, you also know that it is pretty much a rite of passage to own Blundstones. I have been battling the urge to purchase Blundstones for the last few winters. But the simple truth is that I don’t need them. I already have a pair of shoes that have the same function.

I’m not a vegan or even an extreme animal right’s activist but the fact is that an animal died for me to wear these shoes. I think it is of great disrespect to get rid of them simply because I don’t think they are trendy anymore. Even more so, it is of great disrespect to Mother Earth who suffers the most from our selfishness and greed. So although I may not have the trendiest Winter foot wear on the market I am grounded in knowing that the decisions I am make (no matter how small) do make a difference.

Even greater than the physical, tangible practice of Aparigraha is the mental, emotional practice of observing non-clinging. Can you imagine what it would feel like to let a lover, friend, family member, or career go from your life with a sense of ease? Yeah, me neither. Our minds like to make the most out of events like heartbreak and loss by holding on for dear life rather than accepting what is and letting it go.

Full disclosure: I hate it when yoga teachers say “let it go” as if it were some easy task. I always find myself thinking… #1) Let what go exactly? And #2) HOW? Despite my great dislike of this phrase I know that even if there is nothing physical for me to let go of my mind is likely busy grasping onto something. And by doing so I am missing out on the joy of the present moment.

Aparigraha is something that we practice in our homes so we can integrate the practice more fully into our heads and into our hearts. I want to live in a world where there is less importance placed on material goods. I also want to live in a mind that is vast, free and open. Both are possible and Aparigraha is just one path along the way.

Acknowledgement: https://www.sophiemalouin.com/blog/aparigraha

About Author

Sophie Malouin

Sophie Malouin is certified yoga teacher and life coach. It’s her goal to help people to connect to their purpose, unlock their full potential and create the life of dreams. She does this through online coaching, courses and workshops. Take a look around on her website and don’t hesitate to reach out if any questions come up.

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