“I’m not my car, I’m not my house, I am my breath.”
Finally, a yama I have mastered. I do not collect things. This is where I lay my head to sleep and unroll my mat to practice. There is no room in my budget for new clothes or sexy shoes. When I go to the store, I try to buy only what I need to feed myself for the week. Too much stuff makes me feel claustrophobic.
I mastered the art of not hoarding.
But then one day, I packed up my life to move to Mexico.
Moving is a yoga practice of its own kind! You bend, lift, and climb. You sort through your life. Everything is emotionally charged: even the shoebox of W2’s and 1099’s. You say sudden goodbyes to attachments: people, places and things. After three years of living in one home: there are SO many things.
Have you every moved before? How do you practice yoga when you move?
I have fifteen thousand pairs of yoga pants, two hundred and fifteen bottles of lotion, and a million earrings and socks that do not match. I have broken necklaces that I kept meaning to fix. I have ripped dresses: I kept meaning to stitch. What am I going to do with my $200 “rocket” vacuum cleaner (can you see why I bought it)? I keep all of these letters my mom wrote me. I sort through this alphabet of tax forms in a shoe box. But, now we are in the thick of it: the clothes, the art, the jewelry. It all reminds me of my ex-boyfriend: of a relationship that I recently ended. I sit on the floor and cry.
The goodbyes: they add up. Goodbyes, to my beautiful students, coworkers, bosses, my sacred friends. There is a goodbye to this beautiful life I created from nothing. This house: this room: this sky light that I practiced under each morning. There is fear: I am leaving something I worked so hard to cultivate. I am stepping into the unknown and living in the question. On paper: how sexy! In reality: how terrifying! But, this is not the first time, I’ve packed up my life and “vinyased.” I am simply out of practice. I have forgotten how to practice Aprarigraha.
Aprarigraha does not just entail hoarding clothes, food, or other material possessions. Aprarigraha refers to non-possessiveness in relationships and jobs. Can you be content with all you have, or do you mourn a loss?
Do you stay at a job that doesn’t serve you? You tend to your duties with neither enthusiasm nor intricacy. Perhaps, this company is better off with an employee who functions at her highest capacity. Perchance, it is time for you to look for a different opportunity to not just work, but serve.
Every twenty-seven days, our skin regenerates. We are dynamic creatures in an ever undulating universe. Relationships change form. Suddenly, you no longer have anything in common with a friend from high school or college. You put effort into the relationship, but it doesn’t seem bring either of you joy. Do you need to cling to this friendship?
Or perhaps, there is a friendship or relationship that no longer feels healthy. You cannot put your finger on it. Maybe, you feel like you give: your time, money, energy, and love. But, what do you get in return? Maybe you ran past so many red flags, that you feel forced to commit. You love this person so much, more than words could ever articulate. But there is a distortion in the palpitation of your heart: a tight almost/heart burn sensation in your chest, a looming feeling in your low belly that inhibits your ability to engage uddyinaha and mula bandha properly.
“Quiet the voice of your inner critic and wake up your inner teacher.” Larry reminds us.
Are you holding on to something or someone? Are your hoarding or possessing someone for your own psychological protection?
Relationships change form, yet Marie reminds us, “only the love is real in the relationship.” The pain or sorrow that brews and culminates in the break up: it is not real. The only things that is real, is the love that you shared together. Now, it is time to let go.
Aprarigraha: it is about so much more than collecting shoes or hoarding food for the next zombie apocalypse. Aprarigraha is a daily meditation in all people, places and things. It is an inventory of the masquerades that block you from seeking unity with yourSelf.
Yama # 5 Aprarigraha: I have all that I need: I feel no loss
This article is the 5th entry in the blog series covering the traditional 8 limbs of yoga, written for It’s Yoga International.For an introduction to the series, please visit, “Intro to the 8 limbs.” The author, Randee Schwartz, shares her own personal journey as a yogi and what it means to stay true to her own path. She’s currently living in Mexico and supporting the It’s Yoga International family with her creative writing skills.