A glimpse on a yama: Aparigraha

I’m starting here a serie on the yoga sutras, with one of my two favorites yama: Aparigraha.

Yoga sutra 2-39 : aparigrahasthairye janma kathanta sambodhah

Freedom from wanting unlocks the real purpose of existence.

It would be smart to stop trying to possess something desperatly. In a society

That is based on consumption, most of us believe that things can make us

Happy. This way of life prevents us to live in the present moment and prevent

us to seek the true source of happiness. Aparigraha doesn’t necessarly means

possessing stuff it could also be fame or even may be mastering a hard asana.

In my practice I’ve learned the hard way to let go if I can’t do a specific asana. I

remember I was obsessed with visvamitrasana and tried so much that I ended

up hurting myself. (ahimsa anyone ?), now I know how to let go. I don’t hold a

handstand more than 2 seconds ? it’s ok I will try another day, and may be it

will never happen in this life but does it really matter ? Is it a real source of

happiness ? We tend to complicate our lives with things we don’t really need,

and we suffer with the loss or lack of something. B !K !S Iyengar wrote : « By

the observance of aparigraha, the yogi makes his life as simple as possible and

trains his mind not to feel the loss or the lack of anything. Then everything he

really needs will come to him by itself at the proper time. » I live in a country

) where rich people comes to live in for security and tax reason, I

witness people with a lot of possession, are they happier ? Not at all ! They

focus (we all do) on what they don’t have (yet..) and forget about all they have.

Being grateful for what we already have and not suffer for all the thing we

don’t have is the fist step to happiness ! Keep it simple!

Ubuntu and yoga

The concept of Unbuntu is often resumed by the words : « i am because we

are » Yoga means yoke which can be translated by many words like, connection  

or union. Those two philosophical concepts have similarities but some  

differences as well. 

Similarities : Yoga teaches us compassion and compassion is definitely a major 

point of Ubuntu. In the yoga sutras Patanjali explains the concept of ahimsa,  

non harming other people or purself, in Ubuntu if you harm someone else it’s  

like harming yourself. You have to get rid of your ego to embrace ubuntu and  

yoga clearly helps you with that, ego tends to diminish and connectivity rises. In            

yoga we have to look at when ego limits our possibility. , ego is neutral. Ego is  

simply a sense of “self” or personality, the thoughts and reactions of a mind  

shaped by experiences, preferences, habits, and fantasies. As humans, we  

share this phenomenon, and ego-identification creates boundaties hat keep us 

separate from each other as well as from recognizing 

the pure gold of our own true nature. As we learn to recognize the  

mental patterns and defenses that Patanjali describes, we become 

more comfortable in the role of witness. We gain perspective that allows us to  

detach from the ego self. I would say here that somehow, yoga gives the tool to 

accomplish ubuntu. Also the idea of karma, what we give is what we receive 

it can be related to ubuntu but lay be in a more global level as it includes the  

idea of reincarnation. 

Differences :  

Ubuntu is a concept that is only philosophical in a way, yoga covers more field,  

than that. Yoga takes care of the body too, so we can have an healthy mind in  

an healthy body. Yoga has also a spiritual dimension, it helps controlling an  

individual’s mind, body and soul. I am a soul, a spirit, living in a body. The idea 

of Ubuntu is that we depend on human connection, i don’t think it’s  

totally true in yoga. Some yogi tends to love being isolated to meditate 

and try to attain enlightment. The connection we talk about in yoga is more  

the connection between mind body and soul, which will lead to a control of the  

ego and that’s where yoga and ubuntu have the same ideas. 

A must read for yoga teachers, or devoted practicionners

Spirituality

  • The Bhagavad gita
  • The yoga sutras (Patanjali)
  • The Upanishads

Practice

  • Light on Yoga (B.K.S Iyengar)
  • The heart of yoga (T.K.V Desikachar)
  • Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha (Satyananda Saraswati)
  • Yin yoga: Outline of a quiet practice (Paul Grilley)
  • Jivamukti yoga: practice for liberating body and soul (Sharon Gannon)
  • Yoga mind body and spirit (Donna Farhi)
  • Dancing the body of light (Dona Holleman)

Anatomy

  • The key muscles of Hatha yoga (Ray long)
  • The key poses of Hatha yoga (Ray Long)
  • Anatomy for vinyasa flow and standing poses (Ray long)
  • Yoga anatomy (Leslie Kaminoff)

 

Enjoy your reading; Namaste.