The end of the first step of Yoga – yes we are only at the beginning. The 5th and final Yama is Aparigraha.
2.39 – aparigraha sthairye janma kathanta sambodhah
Aparigraha = non-grasping, non-possesivness. When we walk the path of Yoga this includes a conscious letting go of grasping, wanting what is not ours, or desiring what is others. As with all steps in the Yama’s and Niyama’s, it seems obvious and a natural part of being a good person, but that which is obvious is not alway easy.
Although I know this Yama, I know the detrimental effects of grasping and wanting what I see around me, I still have trouble living this 100% of the time. When looking through my instagram feed I wish I could backbend like other Yogi glammers I see. When watching the likes of well known teachers going up and up I wish that could be me. When observing how some around me are able to sell out retreats effortlessly, travel and teach, reach all their goals and dreams so consistently, I sit back and wonder why not me? This creates a spiral of negativity. My senses desire these so called ‘perfect lives’ my ego craves to be one of the lucky ‘chosen ones’ and I feel crap about myself. Everything from my body to my work is picked apart and picked upon. This sux. I’m done. This will never be me, so why am I even bothering to try. Down the rabbit hole I go, until I realise…where does this lead? I know that the only way from here is down so I stop and recognise where I have gone and I slowly look up, look at my life, and look at the light that shines all around me.
Comparing will only ever lead to sorrow and frustration. This realisation is the practice of Aparigraha, this is the philosophy of Yoga, in all its richness and ability to be lived through in this modern life. These Sutras, of which the 8 limbs of Yoga stems from, were written sometime over 2500 years ago. The dates are very unclear, but let’s just say it was most definitely BC. And when we see this and look into their teachings we begin to realise that people were comparing themselves to others long before Instagram was there as a platform. The fact that non-grasping is a Yama means that human beings have an innate ability to want what is not theirs, to desire what others have. This should bring a little peace, we are normal. These issues we have are part of being human. Luckily we have access to a map. A map which was written by someone who managed to evolve beyond human suffering, who saw that there was a way out, and who decided to show us all how to get there, one step at a time. This map is The Yoga Sutras.