Aparigraha – the last of the five yamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga!
And this one translates as ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’.
Therefore, take only what you need, keep only what serves you in the moment, and to let go when the time is right.
So here’s a lesson I need to learn myself especially when it comes to cupcakes: You do not need another one.
Just because those delicious Genius gluten free cupcakes come in a pack of two, the sell by date says they last another week. Have one now, enjoy it, save the other until next week – instead of wolfing down two in one go and regretting it instantly.
Take only what you need, keep only what serves you in the moment, and to let go when the time is right.
The creators of Gavin and Stacey knew what that meant – three series and end on a high. “More, more” we cried, but they knew – anymore and they would be in Red Dwarf territory… still spinning out episodes on the lesser watched Dave channel to minimal audiences that stick with it purely for nostalgia’s sake. (Hands up if that’s you! 🙋🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️)
The creators of Gavin and Stacey knew when to let go, they knew the time was right.
Take only what you need, that’s a funny one too right?
How often have you over packed for holiday, and lugged around a whole bag of clothes with you that you never even wore? You didn’t keep only what served you in that moment did you? Nope you took everything but the kitchen sink due to over possessiveness of wanting ALL your five bikinis with you in case you need them? When in reality you know one fits really well and all the others guvs you dodgy tan lines do you don’t even know why you brought them, let alone bought them with you.
And life – or emotional baggage can be like this – you carry it around like a burden, the stress, the attachment to be better, good enough or to succeed in that final moment. But what if by focusing all your energy on that final moment you forget to take a look out the window and enjoy the ride?
What if on your journey to headstand you focus so much on the end product you forget to actually enjoy the process of getting there? Or even more simple than that – being able to touch your toes in forward bend. How many of you stress or have stressed about that?
Here’s a secret: I couldn’t touch my toes in forward bend when I started yoga – I got so bummed out about the fact that I couldn’t do it, that when I did I don’t even remember it happening.
And yet, I remember every single step of my headstand journey – because I just let that possessive reach of the end goal wash over me. I enjoyed the practice. And I still do – every little step of that set up into supported headstand – it’s like the first time all over again. It’s the journey into it I love the most not the end goal of the pose itself.
When we get too possessive about how we want things to be, we lose sight of why we started doing them in the first place.
Progress in our practice is encouraging, but it doesn’t need to be the only reward.
If we practise for the love of practising, without forcing or pushing ourselves beyond our edge, the body will unfold naturally and those more challenging asanas will be accessible in no time.
There’s science in this too: tense, forced yoga creates tight immobile muscles and body parts. Free, happy, soft, fluid and stress free yoga creates an openness and looseness in the muscles and body parts allowing you to move freer into the posture.
So on that note:
Stop sweating the small stuff.
Do what you love and don’t worry about the outcome.