[Yoga Guest Post]
Today we are going to be discussing how to live the yoga – minimalist lifestyle by learning how to practice Aparigraha.
If you’re reading this and you are sitting at home, I want you to play along with me. So take a moment to go into your closet and pick out three clothing items that you have a surplus of and get rid of them. Part of the yoga-minimalist lifestyle means getting rid of things you don’t need, things that are no longer serving you.
Put your items in a bag and donate them to a thrift or a friend. If you’re not at home, promise me you’ll do this later.
I know, you got busy and forgot. It’s okay. Most of us don’t naturally thing of getting rid of things. We tend to think the other way around. We tend to think about acquiring things, like money, clothing, jewelry and shoes. But today we are going to be attempting to live the yoga-minimalist lifestyle, and a big part of that it getting rid of things we don’t need. And I’m hoping that in this article you will gain a new perspective and appreciate the value of minimalism, even if you don’t opt into downsizing.
I am sure you have heard of the buzz word “minimalism”.
The yoga – minimalist lifestyle is about living with less. It is about living with experience in mind, rather than being materialistic.It is about being less dependent on materialism and more of a free-spirited person.
It isn’t just about getting rid of your things so much. It is about a mindset of having self-awareness when it comes to your thoughts and actions. It is about practicing Aparigraha
What Aparigraha Means
In yoga, we study the Yamas and Niyamas, which are ways we act in the world externally and how we treat ourselves internally. Aparigraha is a Yama meaning non-grasping. Practicing aparigraha is about being mindful of what you bring into your life, mentally and physically. It is as simple as asking yourself “How does this thing serve me?”.
The word Aparigraha is a Sanskrit word meaning “non-possessiveness”. It originates in Hinduism and Jainism and essentially refers to the virtue of non-grasping. It is about letting go of desire. Buddhism shares a similar concept, which is based on the idea of letting go to be happy.
This one question will help you practice Aparigraha And Live The Yoga / Minimalist Lifestyle
I used to find myself online shopping and I recognized a pattern. I would always whip out my phone in a moment where I had “nothing to do”. I would begin to search for something, anything that might be worthy enough to purchase.
To find momentary happiness. And guess what? Everyone does it. Even the most minimal minimalist does on some micro-scale! Momentary happiness feels great, but the feeling never lasts. Truth be told, we have been programmed by consumer culture to always want more and to seek out the next best thing. You might feel like you can never escape this rabbit hole of living in the modern world, but this is where you can start to embrace the yoga – minimalist lifestyle.
As I have grown deeper into my yoga practice, mindfulness has seeped into all parts of my life. A lot of us start yoga to change some external parts of ourselves but in reality, what shifts are our mindsets. That is what lead me to minimalism. I realized wanting less leads to more space in my life for growth, passion projects and truly enjoying time with people I love. There is no need to feel dissatisfied with who we are, just because it doesn’t match what is trending.
So, how can you start to practice aparigraha? How can you live the yoga – minimalist lifestyle? What if you have a garage full of things? What if you work hard for your money and you enjoy buying things? What’s wrong with that?
Minimalism doesn’t have to mean living in a tiny house or a van. So instead of getting worried that you can’t attain minimalism, think of it as mindfulness in everyday life. Remember Aparigraha, (non-grasping) and apply here by not being attached to the thoughts of being a minimalist. Do what feels natural for you but also make a solid effort to be mindful.
Here’s How To Practice Aparigraha For A Yoga / Minimalist Lifestyle
1: First, start by asking yourself the simple question when you’re shopping, “How does this serve my life?”.
If you struggle to answer that question easily, maybe you don’t need the item you’re looking at. It is so essential for us to ask ourselves questions instead of mindlessly buying everything we see. If we don’t ask questions we end up with excess in our lives, which doesn’t give us space to find happiness internally.
2: Secondly, donate a few things that aren’t truly essential!
Not only are we programmed to want more by our culture, we are also inclined to become attached to the things we own. It is healthy to appreciate the things we have and acknowledge them, that’s true. But, if it pains us to get rid of a shirt, then it’s time to get rid of the shirt! Then we are practicing Aparigraha, non-grasping.
3: Lastly, be easy on yourself. If your life screams materialism and you feel like there is no escaping the pressure of our culture, don’t worry. If this lifestyle is important to you then you’ll apply to some degree. Something inside you has been sparked by the idea of the minimalist lifestyle. Now it is up to you to follow through and get rid of a few things.
4: Study other concepts from yoga
Yoga is full of many philosophical concepts that can help you to live a minimalist lifestyle. There’s withdrawal from minimalism, and there are other techniques like Pratyahara: Withdrawal From Senses.
Enjoy your new minimalist lifestyle!
As you leave the trendy desire mindset in the dust, notice how you feel over time. Less comparing, less dissatisfaction, less anxiety. More room for authenticity, passion, and time to just be still. Wanting less takes less energy. Allow yourself to truly live authentically and practice Aparigraha. Remember, less is more.
“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.” -The Dalai Lama
Author: Annie Godin
Hello, my name is Annie Godin. I am a nature lover and yoga teacher living in Phoenix, Arizona. After the accident, Yoga became my everyday healing tool. I completed my teacher training in the summer of 2018 and have been teaching since! In my free time, I love to make art, write and cook delicious meals with the people I love!
Me today: Following my passion for teaching yoga and sharing my story!