Yoga for over-thinkers Week 5 – Aparigraha

It is our fifth and final week of this series exploring the Yamas and learning asanas and soma yoga practices to support these principles.

Aparigraha is often translated as non-possessiveness, non-attachment or non-clinging. It is about understanding impermanence and honoring the divine flow of life. Nothing that is vital and growing stays the same. This teaching can help us to realize that what we cling to can keep us imprisoned.

Many of us cling to possessions, like cars or homes, fearing what we will become if we don’t have these things. Sometimes we cling to friendships that have come to an end, not realizing that the energy to maintain those relationships is actually stealing energy from other relationships or own vitality.

Aparigraha can also be applied to our expectations of ourselves or of other people. How often do we become prisoners of our expectations of others, rather than letting people be who they are? Can we learn to let go of those expectations, understanding that we not only free the other person, we free ourselves too?

Letting go w yoga mat
How are we best able to let go and receive? With a closed hand or an open one?

One of my favorite parts of the practice of aparigraha is the letting go of old ideas about ourselves. Sometimes this is scary. We have told ourselves a story of our limitations and this has kept us from being vulnerable, from being truly seen. By getting truthful and current with ourselves (practicing satya), we realize there is growth and possibility that we miss by being stuck in the old story.

Letting go of beliefs and thoughts we have can be facilitated through coaching or mentoring. This is because it is sometimes hard to realize we are not stating “truth” but rather just re-playing an old pattern of thoughts. While they are not true, the may feel true, simply because we have repeated them without examining and questioning them. A good coach can gently challenge our beliefs and help us begin the process of letting go.

For the over-thinkers among us, letting go of worries and concerns may be challenging. In yoga, we settle our nervous systems in preparation for meditation, a practice of watching our thoughts without attachment. Often a mantra can help when watching the breath may not be enough. A mantra or phrase repeated again and again can keep the mind busy, so that the quiet openness does not tempt the mind to run off. And when it does (as mine inevitably does) we apply ahimsa and gently bring it back.

When it comes to letting go, what is most challenging for you? Feel free to post a comment. I am curious.

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cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

6 thoughts on “Yoga for over-thinkers Week 5 – Aparigraha

  1. What about the things that ARE true? It seems that “coming of age” isn’t just something that happens for young adults but is a life-long process. Sometimes I think that I’m just now, in my sixties, getting to know and understand myself. How do we know what beliefs to let go, because they’re wrong, and which ones to embrace because they are true?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would just approach everything with curiosity rather than certainty, Becky. I love Byron Katie’s process of inquiry: asking (with regard to painful beliefs especially), do I know this is true? Can I absolutely know this is true? How do I react when I believe that is true? Who would I be without that thought? It can help us know when beliefs are true, or just some story we’ve been telling ourselves. I love your question.

      Liked by 2 people

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