Aparigraha - non grasping

We are always in transition. I know this is true and yet it is always scary for me when I’m in the midst of a lot of change. The way I move, sit, sleep, practice and teach yoga are all in major transition. I love what I’m learning and yet, it is turning my world upside down.

I find myself in conflict with what I feel is my evolving yoga path and with wanting to please my students. It is a whole re-education process and only certain people will want to join me on this journey. A great teacher once said, I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to be a good teacher. I do love making friends, although my priorities are being a good teacher, to teach what I feel guided to, and let go of people pleasing. This new way of practicing is healing me and my back, and it is information I feel inspired to share.

Most artists come across this challenge when they change their style and follow new inspiration. Will others respond to the new work? We need to keep growing, listening within, and letting go of the results. That often means shedding the old to make space for the new. But being in the open spacein the unknown – is scary.

Aparigraha is the fifth Yama (ethical guidelines in yoga philosophy). It’s defined as non-grasping. It’s about not taking more than is needed, which is part of the development of an attitude of detachment. In relation to transformation it is about trusting that what’s ours will come and what’s not will fall away, while finding grace in that process. We learn to shift into an attitude of abundance and of trusting we are being guided every step of the way.

It can also be applied to the grip we have on our beliefs or on a certain way of living. Opening to a new way can be so liberating. This new way of practicing yoga requires more mindfulness and discipline and a letting go of some advanced postures. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this if the old way didn’t hurt me so much. Sometimes it’s the pain that helps us grow. The road gets narrower. I relate it to caffeine, sugar, or alcohol. I wouldn’t have given them up until I felt they were hurting me, but now, without them (most of the time) I feel so much better and stronger.

The more I live in line with my true spirit, the stronger I feel. Just like the more I practice yoga with an aligned spine, the stronger my back feels. It’s all a practice of trusting the spirit within and trusting that as we surrender, something even better is coming along.

"There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will, all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls." 
-Howard Thurman