Been thinkin’ about Aparigraha lately, the first Yama of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras on the eight-limbed path.
Non-grasping. Non-covetousness. Letting go of desires.
Tough task! Can’t ungrasp memories spent with Mr. Bentley, my big, proud, standard poodle. I want him BACK. Can’t stop wishing my handstand looked like hers, even though she’s a 20-something acrobat and I’m old enough to be her mother. Can’t let go of the sexy little iPad mini screaming “buy me now!” And pay later – it’s the American way.
Now more than ever, we mortal yogis need to practice Aparigraha.
The first step toward Aparigraha is planting your foot firmly onto your mat. Then the other foot. And all the internal crap taking up valuable real estate in your head. Bring it all to the mat, and, over time and with consistency, you just might end up letting go and finding fulfillment in what you’ve already got.
It’s hard though. I know.
Every time I see a neighbor making an end of day relief round with Fido (furiously seeking the perfect patch of grass to sniff, squat, and relieve), I want my dog back. I want to bury my face in his big fluffy ears and thank him for soaking up my tears during a hard turning point in life. I want to thank him for never complaining when he moved from spacious digs to Lilliputian quarters challenging his long torso to turn all the way around without knocking over a lamp. And I especially want to thank him for understanding when I placed him in a new home with a fellow poodle adorer who could provide him with all the pampering, salon-caliber blowouts, tail-chasing and doggy booty sniffing opportunities I could no longer offer him.
Every time I go through my 100 (or is it 200? I stopped counting) or so daily handstands and tap the wall with my toe I think of the superstar yogini who floats on up, EVERY TIME, in the middle of the room without a shred of effort. I end up cursing the wall, my toe for touching it, and my ego-flushed desire to look just like her.
Everybody’s got one. Or so it seems. And I want an iPad mini too.
Let it go, sister.
On my mat, when I connect with my breath, keep my focus on it, and move meditatively, I find relief from desire. I realize that my buddy Bentley was a special friend when I needed him, and will always be a part of me. He is better now. I am better now. Even if we’re apart.
On my mat, when I connect with my breath, keep my focus on it, and move meditatively, I forget about her handstand, and love and appreciate mine – flops and all – as I grow stronger and more confident with each attempt.
On my mat, when I connect with my breath, keep my focus on it, and move meditatively, I don’t want the iPad mini. I already have an iPhone, and when I’m practicing, I’m not so sure I want that either. I don’t want anything.
So get on the mat. Try letting go. Try Aparigraha. You have enough.