WILL I PASS THE APARIGRAHA PRACTICE?

Aparigraha is the last Yama (moral guidelines with regard to our relationship with ourselves and the world around us) in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. It is often translated to ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’. This important yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right. These moral codes can be applied both on and off the yoga mat and I would like to share my story with you.

 

Was I too GREEDY At The Start Of My Yoga Journey?

I started the Yoga Teacher Training Course feeling a little stressed. My classmates were stronger and more flexible while I struggled with several of the poses.  I could not help but compare myself to them and at some points, I considered dropping out of the course because I felt I was not good enough.

However, the trainers and my course mates were very encouraging. The Covid-19 Heightened Alert period when the course took a break also gave me some additional time to practice. The regular practice made me stronger, being stronger made me more confident, being more confident allowed me to attempt (and achieve) more poses. Honestly, the progress was slow and I did not realise it myself. It was when we returned to class after the break that the trainer commented on the improvement and I came to notice it. Today, I am still unable to do some poses that my classmates can, but I am a much stronger version of myself two months ago – this is what matters and I will constantly remind myself that.

 

Will I Ever POSSESS Enough?

I think I am quite vain and perhaps a bit of a shopaholic. I enjoy buying new clothes AND shoes! I once bought two pairs of the same shoes because I forgot that I already have a pair at home. I wear only 10% of my wardrobe 90% of the time, the rest are mostly neglected and sometimes forgotten.

During Circuit Breaker last year, I had time for reflection and also some housekeeping – I managed to clear some clothes for donation to the Salvation Army. My house is not Marie Kondo-ed, there are still a lot of clutter left and there are some apparels that I could not bear to give away even though I have not worn it for several years. However, it is still a tiny step that I have taken and I choose to celebrate small wins. 

My new resolution is not to buy new clothes for six months – hope this can help to clear the clutter in my room, my mind and my heart

 

Am I too ATTACHED To My Food?

Food is my life – my favourite pastime is reading food articles, trying out new cafes, planning my next meal and the one after that…

I also have a habit of over ordering which I blame on genetics because growing up, my dad (who is also a foodie) loves feeding us and he always made sure the dining table is full – “better more than less”, he says. As I dislike wasting food, I almost always finish my food. That also means I tend to overeat when I overorder so I need to resolve the root cause which is ORDER IN MODERATION!

Fortunately, I think the Yoga Teacher Training Course has improved my eating habits slightly – two days a week to be exact because that is the number of days we go to the studio. Intermittent fasting never seemed possible for me in the past because I am always hungry – my family and friends are witnesses to this. However, as our weekend classes are 11am-2pm and we are advised not to eat two hours before class (and I do not wake up earlier than that!), my first meal on weekends is around 3pm. Then, I am cautious not to eat too much in case we are asked to do breathing exercises during our theory classes at 4pm. I do eat a lot more for dinner but my overall consumption for the day is much lesser than on days when I do not practice. This routine has made me realised I require less calories than I think.

I would like to share this phrase that I came across and really like – it is “Hara hachi bu” which means “Eat until you are 80% full” in Japanese. It originated in the city of Okinawa, where people use this advice as a way to control their eating habits. Apparently, they have a fairly long life expectancy and one of the lowest rates of illness from heart disease, cancer and stroke.

 

Focusing On The Journey Instead Of The Destination

I am far from attaining Aparigraha, if ever. But just knowing about it and trying to practice it (even if occasionally) makes me feel good. Regardless of the results, I am going to enjoy this process.

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