Aparigraha: Non-Attachment

The 5th Yama is Aparigraha (non-attachment), as part of Pajanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. As yoga teachers, we see attachment and it’s opposite as we watch our yoga students walk onto their mat and then again as they step off and back into their day. We teach the idea of non-greed and not getting attached to any one thing or experience, be it feelings, people, situations, food, etc. But in so many ways, we are struggling to detach in this crazy shift of 2020.

Social Media. I’m reminding myself to “take only what I need” as I receive feedback from my offerings and perspective and as I watch where our world is growing and falling apart at the same time. I gave myself permission yesterday to release people from my social media account who were bringing me down. I have full appreciation for all who have differing viewpoints than my own, my husband being one of them. Where I energetically struggle are the hate and attacks online, not to mention the physical attacks around our country alone. I’m not even going there today. But, when I can feel the hatred and attachment to an ideal in someone’s repeated posts with that intention, I ask myself, how is this serving me? When it’s serving me in a negative way, even without engaging, then why should I stay “attached” to that person via social media much less in life? Practicing aparigraha happened for me yesterday as I let people go. In doing so, I also practiced ahimsa (non-harming), by reducing the harm that was filtering through my energetic core. Also my not engaging, I didn’t perpetrate the hurt and harm. Acting always with love and not hate is foreign to many, but part of the yoga philosophy. I released them so I could also release my natural reaction to judge.

Yoga Teachers and Business Owners. I’m also seeing significant attachment as I’m interviewing yoga teachers and yoga business owners. First let me say, I’m not perfect and I’m continually working through my own attachment challenges. With that said, in following the yoga teachings, I’m also attached to the idea that our world is abundant and there is enough for everyone. We each have extraordinary gifts and are meant to serve people in the way that honors those gifts and each other. What has shocked me, but also reminded me that we are all human, are how many yoga teachers resisted the invitation to speak with me. Being a researcher and philosopher, I love to gather data, process my thoughts and the information, and share out the findings. That is my intention with these interviews.

But some odd behaviors arose as I reached out to my peers. I feel like the yoga community is afraid to let anyone else into their bubble. Like “this is my space, these are my students, and this is my way…” This pandemic gave us an incredible gift…the gift of awareness and joy. Unfortunately, it’s not a common perspective and the fear that I’m witnessing as the pandemic is shaking up the yoga industry has me even more passionate about helping out my peers. Unfortunately, it’s not perceived in that way. And since perception is reality, I had to ask myself the following:

  1. What are they (and I) resisting?
  2. Who are they (and am I)?
  3. Why are they (and I) here?
  4. What is their (and my) purpose?
  5. Are they (and I) sitting in abundance or fear?
  6. How would they (and I) rate their own aparigraha?
  7. What are their (and my) chakras showing them (me)?
  8. How do they (and I) plan to move forward?

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