Are you holding on too tight?
The seeds of much of our discontent come from our ego-minds trying to control that which we have absolutely no control over. As we continually struggle with that disconnect between how we perceive reality should be, and how it actually is, we cause our own suffering.
Life is 10% what you make it, and 90% how you take it. Irving Berlin
What is the antidote to this suffering? Gratitude. The simple mantra “Thank you.” Say it, feel it, and almost immediately a sense of ease can follow. The heart will open, and make space for compassion.
Our yoga practice is a great place to start practicing aparigraha. On our mats we have the opportunity for some quiet reflection as we breathe and move. Maybe we can loosen our grasp on some perceptions we have in our practice that may be causing us to feel distracted or unbalanced in our minds. Here’s a start:
-Let go of the mental image you have of how a pose should look if it is perfect. There is no perfect. We are all different.
-Let go of what you did on your mat yesterday, and what you want to do tomorrow. Maybe you held tree pose for 5 breaths yesterday and today you lost your balance 5 times. Don’t keep score. What’s important is accepting the present moment experience and realizing yoga is a practice. Coming back to a pose after we fall out of it teaches us just as much about balance, strength, and concentration as staying in the pose.
-Let go of comparing yourself to what the person next to you is doing, or grasping at what they are doing thinking you should be doing it too. Yoga is an individual practice. Everyone has their own strengths and needs.
Open up to what’s happening with gratitude. Gratitude for breath, for movement, for that calm that sometimes sneaks in.
How can we take aparigraha off our mats and into our lives?
Continue that mantra “thank you” whenever you encounter a challenging situation.
We may wish people we encounter would act differently. But everyone has something to teach us. Most likely that person who may be acting in a negative way is suffering somehow. Open yourself up to learning what that person can teach you, and you may be able to ease their suffering, and your own.
Find a mantra for gratitude: “Thank you for teaching me patience.” “Thank you for teaching me compassion.”
Sometimes seeing and accepting things as they are requires us to step back, take a few deep breaths, and say “Thank you.” And that’s ok.
Loosen your grip, and open up to more joy.
Leslie, Dec. 2016
Patanjali’s Ten Principals: