Aparigraha: the virtue of non-greediness, non-possessiveness, non-attachment.
Knowing the words to the song isn’t the making of that piece of music. When you first hear it, the melody, chord progression and the words sung could be pleasing to you. It could make you initially happy or sad or want to go out to the club. But when you listen to that same piece of music over and over,after a while it becomes part of you. When you learn what truths the artist wanted to tell you, it’s a different experienceto your first listen. It’s a knowing, an understanding of a feeling that you and that artist has shared.
I don’t believe that you need to know every Sanskrit word to be a great yogi, however there is something to be said about the connective words that centre you and pull you deeper to your practice Once your practising the moves, your swaying to the beat of your song. Once you learn the words and the meaning, you are becoming one with the song.
Aparigraha is one of the Yamas (observances, or ‘don’ts of yoga) in yogic philosophy, and it means non-coveting, non-greed or non-attachment. Non-coveting is not new to us, especially those from in Christian countries (like the UK), with the tenant ‘thou shall not covet another man’s possession’. This idea is drilled into us from such a young age that you woul think it’s something that by now we have grown to manage, but it seems to be almost the opposite, especially in today’s culture.
Instagram, for me, is a hot bed of aspiration and ‘goals’. Lithe, supremely flexible and proper nice yoga pant wearing yogis are enough to make us scrolling-thumbed mere mortals quake on our mats. You’d be easily forgiven for assuming that Instagram was made to make others covet what you have…the ability to follow people’s lives, the encouragement to doctor your pictures (who doesn’t love a good filter) and the supported notion of only putting on the good bits about your life. There are some incredible influencers who do post the real segments, the bad hair days, the frustrated work posts, but still for those (especially in the health and wellbeing community) the focus is purely on the good, the aspirational, the sometimes not 100% achievable for every body.
So often we see the finished product of someone’s journey – the finished wheel pose, the headstand, the complicated arm balance that really looks like they can’t breathe – all of which are incredible feats of the human body but can also be a little disheartening for a beginner who is starting their journey to compare themselves to, especially when they aren’t observing the tenants of yoga philosophy that’s out there.
To help get into the groove of Agparigraha, remember why you are practising and what it is that YOU (all the emphasis on YOU) want to achieve. Are you working to get into those crazy poses, or do you want to work on your wellbeing? Both end results are so completely valid, but the journey getting to that goal is just as important too, and this can only happen if you delve deeper into to the practice as opposed to staying ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ deep.
Jealousy of other people’s lives means that you’re giving away time that you could be focusing on improving your own, and that makes me a little sad. You deserve all the focus and attention in the world because you are beautiful and you matter. Enjoy Instagram, celebrate your brothers and sisters who can get into Mermaid without a towel and a double rolled mat, smile at the incredible journey you’ve chosen to be on with your body and your yoga. Your road is the only one you can walk on, so enjoy the view and take in all that you can see.
Jai Namaste, my insta-babes.