December is the Perfect Time to Explore Aparigraha (Yoga Yama)

OK, everyone, there are eight limbs of yoga. Some of you know this and some of you don’t. (That’s OK). Probably most of you only know about ASANA (yoga poses) and PRANAYAMA (breathing exercises). And that is great; however, these are only two of the eight limbs. As you grow into your yoga practice, you’ll learn about the other limbs which as a whole will help you realize that being a yogi is actually a lifestyle.

The great thing about the lessons yoga teaches us is that the “concepts” are definitely not new nor unique. Yep, you’ve heard them before but likely by some other name.

So with that being said, I will introduce another limb known as the Yama Limb (social ethical standards). There are five of these.
1. Ahimsa (non-harming)
2. Satya (truthfulness)
3. Asteya (non-stealing)
4. Brahmacharya (continence)
5. Aparigraha (non-covetousness)

In the past, I have written about the Yama Limbs (Sometimes You Just Have to Throw the Fish Back into the Sea: March 2013), but I focused on AHIMSA (non-harming). Today, I wanted to explore APARIGRAHA (non-covetousness) which essentially means no greed, i.e. don’t be greedy!

Being that it is December, this concept really resonates with me! For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been bombarded with the drama of some stores opening up on Thanksgiving. The drama centered around the is it right or wrong argument. Then “Black Friday,” then “Small Business Saturday,” then “Cyber Monday,” and the “only so many days till Christmas countdowns.” And if that wasn’t enough, my email inbox is flooded with “buy this, having a sale, only till”… you know all those emails. Then on TV, there are the new car, toys, gaming systems, tablets, cell phones, and jewelry commercials. I’ve also have had those conversations that start with “so are you ready for Christmas” which really translates to “did you get all of your shopping done?” Additionally, my daughter works in retail and she can tell you some stories of lovely consumer behaviors. I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea. Essentially, the message is that you HAVE to have/buy this thing(s) to be validated or loved; otherwise, you’re nothing! Ugh!

Essentially, all this commercialism has overtaken the true meaning of the holiday season and what is actually truly important. I’m in America and sadly this is the message that is reinforced; commercialism (buy, buy, buy, spend, spend spend). And just so you know, I am no scrooge. I do buy special presents for my loved ones. It’s the overindulgence, the go big, and materialism that is horrible. And that’s what turns me off.

I am a happy person! I have my health! I have a loving family! I have awesome friends! I have a nice home and food on the table! I have warm clothes to wear. I have freedom! I feel safe! I have time! (I’m familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). Isn’t that what matters? Isn’t this happiness?

I totally get that it is nice to have things as well as being able to give, but having a ton of material things or having a ton of money won’t buy you true happiness. The one thing that I noticed it gets you is that you are never ever satisfied because there is always something else you must have, or more money. Essentially, it breeds greed and competition. Even little kids are sometimes seen throwing huge embarrassing fits because they didn’t get that one thing. Unfortunately and sadly greed is a programmed/taught concept that is conceived in early childhood.

In America, there is a popular saying called “Keeping Up with the Jones.” Guess what it never ends! And it consumes some people like a hungry monster!
So ponder this!

Namaste,
Kristen

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This entry was posted in mind-body connection, wellness, Yoga, yoga lesson plan ideas, yoga limbs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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