Even after years of studying the sutras, it takes me time to research and find an explanation that resonates with me. It is my understanding that one does not simply read the sutras and everything sinks in. And that is ok! Everything worth value takes time and effort, and in this case, it could take lifetimes. There is no better time to start than right now.
The first time I came across The Yoga Sutras, I was intrigued and confused, but deep down I knew there was something special about them. Loving my asana and pranayama yoga practice, I wanted to know more. Are there guidelines for off the mat situations? And on my lap fell a translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Let’s begin the revealing of Aparigraha with the breakdown of Patanjali Yoga Sutras 2.39 by Christopher Chapple and Yogi Ananda Viraj.
Aparigraha sthairye janma kathamta sambodhah.
When steadfast in non-possession, there is knowledge of “the how” of existence.
Pattabhi translates the sutra as “Upon a foundation of non-possessiveness, there arises the full understanding of the wherefore of birth.”
In todays modern world we have many material possessions and we form a sense of possession over these things. Could we survive without those things? After all feelings of desire and attachment release than yes, we can! When we are free of greed and possessiveness, we gain the freedom to see how our “wants” affect what we experience in life. I’m not stating that we should all give up everything and live a hermit life in the mountains, but if we did, if we got rid of everything and just lived day to day, we would have the time to experience this life, this body, this breath, and even dive deeper into this mind.
We don’t all have the luxury of doing that, but we can bring this practice into our lives.
If your favorite TV show is on, but you instead choose to go outside with a loved one and spend time in nature, you are choosing to let go of that desire to watch “your show” and experience life.
The way we sustain the body can be another easy start to practicing Aparigraha. Only taking as much food as we need to maintain our bodies, and not desiring things of enjoyment.
The eight limbs assists us in making the mind one pointed so that we can see the Universal Self, and this Yama, Aparigraha is a great place to start! I hope this inspires you go outside and pick some flowers, smell the grass, and spend some time with the self today.
Next time your in class at Inspired Change Yoga I would love to hear from you about how you practice Aparigraha!