Aparigraha is the fifth yama and is defined as "greedlessness." How do we embrace and teach greedlessness is our culture of "stuff" and "more more more"? I think this yama comes last in the list for good reason. As we bring non-harming, truth, non-stealing, and moderation into our lives greed begins to melt away. A sense of abundance and trust envelopes our every day and our perspective shifts. We need not fill our lives with all that "stuff" because all that we need we already have.
From the perspective of yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala, aparigraha is also defined by not coveting what is not ours. Wanting something that does not belong to us or desiring to be someone we are not is rooted in jealousy and this yama is encouraging us to be exactly who we are - nothing more. Aparigraha is about seeking to discover our true selves so that we do not need to covet what someone else has or who someone else is.
When practicing non-greed, we discover contentment with what we have and who we are. We accept what has been given and we cultivate gratitude for all the abundance surrounding us. We begin to see what we have rather than what we do not have.
When teaching aparigraha as a yoga teacher, I like to encourage my students to practice with themselves - without looking around and coveting other people's asana practice. I ask them to find gratitude for making it to class and honoring the body that is with them in this life. In doing so, I hope it enables all of us to find thanksgiving for all that we have, all that we achieve, and all that defines who we really are.
I recently started a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, I write five things I am grateful for. Often there are repeats and sometimes what I write surprises me, but it sure does give me a sense of hope at the end of the day because there is always something to appreciate and doing so gives me gratitude for all that is my life.
Thanks for reading my past five posts on the yamas. I am going to take next week off (hope that's ok Emma!) and get started again October 26 with the Niyamas! Cheers + Namaste!