The Fifth Yama: Aparigraha: How Nonattachment Heals Us
Aparigraha (nonattachment) - the fifth Yama in Maharshi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras - one of the core ethical principles of yoga.
Aparigraha Yama, also identified as nonattachment, teaches us about controlling our attachment to materials, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions to avoid suffering.
For instance, we can attach ourselves to hatred, anger, or resentment because of a situation. The situation eventually ends, but we hold on to the negative emotion and refuse to discard it, which gradually leads us into anguish.
We can identify Aparigraha (अपरिग्रह) as a self-restraint that controls our greed to have things that extend beyond our necessities. It is the opposite of the Sanskrit word Parigraha (परिग्रह), which means holding or taking possession. If we take hold of more things than we need, we have to save them for the future, which increases our attachment to them. It tells us to give up on considering everything to be ours. We must practice the absence of jealousy and greed and cultivate Aparigraha to advance in the path of yoga.
Practicing nonattachment not only helps us lean towards yoga but also improves how our sense organs function, from seeing and hearing to touching and smelling. Even if we procure something, it must be done righteously and not unethically. Breaking this rule is abstaining from Aparigraha and entering into Parigraha, something we do not want or need.
How Should We Practice Aparigraha Meditation?
As we mention in most of our blogs, breathwork and meditation are significant in helping us achieve a better us. We can incorporate these elements into our daily life to calm the mind and improve our perception, clearing how we see, feel, and think. Practicing Aparigraha is effortless with such clarity.
The SKY Breath Meditation is a breathwork-based meditation technique that offers a clearing and calming effect on the mind. You can add it to your daily yoga practice for the most benefits. It is scientifically proven to produce a relaxing mental state. Using it can allow for practicing the Yamas and Niyamas in the best ways.
Now, let us dive into the actual practice. When we meditate on the mat, our mind opens up and enables observing the power of fear and how it restricts our life force. We can learn to breathe in challenging situations, retain our life force, and let out negativity smoothly.
Practicing nonattachment yoga on the mat also allows us to realize if we have attached ourselves to a specific level of success in our meditation technique, such as how it makes us look and if we are failing to enjoy the session by clinging to insecurities.
For the best experience, we must let go of our attachments, fears, and past experiences. When we progress on the right path, we will start noticing a fearless and successful life, whether in terms of relationships or careers. It all comes down to one key consideration - to observe our patterns from an objective perspective.
How to Develop Aparigraha?
Everything seems complex when we are introduced to them. But we get used to them in due course. Here are a few ways we believe you can develop the practice of Aparigraha.
Start with Love and Care for Yourself
When we learn to love ourselves, we feel independent and powerful. It frees us from insecurities and fear because we do not depend on others and are not attached to external sources. When we are our center, we learn to give others the space they need.
Be Grateful, and Do Not Hesitate to Share
Is giving as difficult as we make it sound and feel like? Perhaps not. Do you know why? The giver is always thankful while gifting because they are receiving gratitude from the receiver and taking off the mind’s attachment to it. Similarly, when we receive something, we should be grateful and accept it humbly. Then, we can share or pass on what we receive to those who need it more than us. It need not only be materials or wealth but also knowledge and skills.
Forgiving and letting go is another element the practice of Aparigraha yoga teaches us. More than often, we cling to the past - people, memories, and events. These attachments prevent us from experiencing happiness. Practicing nonattachment encourages us to forgive and let go - a technique of healing our wounds. We can stop looking for the mistakes they made and move on toward the light.
We should enjoy our practice and be in the rhythm to enjoy life. It is the perfect way to live the five Yamas, irrespective of which of the five we focus on at one time. If you haven’t yet, check out our other posts on the previous Yamas.