Aparigraha-ha-ha

Hello from rainy, soggy, cold Venice, CA! I’m here for a week to assist Shiva‘s foundational teacher training program and while the training itself is excellent, I’m struggling.

There is so much here – great shopping, great food, great spa services. It’s so hard to even walk down the street without passing by several places to spend your money. Even going into a yoga class, you have to walk through the boutique full of cute clothes and accessories that you don’t see where I live on the East Coast.

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga teaches us to practice Aparigraha, or “non-hoarding.” Aparigraha isn’t necessarily about giving up all of your possessions, but about giving up the belief that your happiness depends on holding on to what you think you “own”. There are lots of ways to apply aparigraha to your yoga practice – letting go of competitiveness with yourself and others, letting go of expectations you have of yourself, letting go of a certain routine of practice. But most obvious if all, letting go of the need to BUY THINGS!

Given the economic climate these days, practicing aparigraha might appear to be getting easier because we are buying less. But it’s not about that – it’s about giving up the belief that if you buy that scarf/hat/sweater/ice cream you will be so much happier. It’s about giving up the belief that you NEED that 108th pair of earrings. It’s about letting go of the belief that a trip to LA will only be great if you get to go to the beach. And the thing is, I think we create these thoughts and beliefs without even realizing we are doing it!

So, I’m trying. I’m trying to stay aware of my thought processes and the feelings that arise. It’s a never-ending work in progress.

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