May’s Kunga Monthly Service Theme is Aparigraha (non-possessiveness or non-grasping). Which is one of the yamas included in Patanjali’s outline of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. “Pari” means ‘on all sides’ and “graha” is ‘to take or to seize’- taking it all, or greediness, simply adding “A” on the front means ‘non’- so ‘Non-Greediness!’ Which is a part of what yoga teaches us, or at least that’s one of the goals.
There are a few different ways to practice aparigraha both on and off the mat, though it may not always be as simple as it sounds.
On the mat:
- Allowing yourself to release any judgements or expectations of your body or your mind. Simply feel your breath moving in and out of your body. Allowing your breath to be your guide through your practice.
- Give yourself permission to put your blinders on… Feel what is happening on your mat, it does not serve you to watch others around you, yoga is not a competition. Find inspiration through others!
- Enjoy the transitions from one asana to the other, as Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Same goes in yoga, feel your breath and your body moving.
- Allow yourself to be present in the current moment- modify when injured or tired. Asanas take practice, know that with practice you will become stronger, and more flexible, and it could be two weeks, two years, or two decades… but when your body is ready for an asana, it will be ready!
- Have fun, enjoy your practice. The challenges, the sweat, the tears, the break-throughs- all of it!
Off the mat:
- Let go of items that no longer serve you: donate items you no longer use or need.
- Learn the difference of wants and needs, you may really want new bedding for the new season, but is it really necessary? Or perhaps you saw the newest model of a juicer, and all of a sudden your perfectly good juicer is no longer good enough. This is not always easy!
- Eating and shopping for the necessities. This goes along the same line as learning the difference in wants and needs, but on a smaller, possibly more frequent, scale. Stick to what is on your shopping list, avoiding the tricks of the super market!
- Allow yourself to forgive others, it may be challenging, but it does not serve you to hold on to anger and negativity. That doesn’t mean “don’t be angry,” anger is an emotion essential in human living, but once you’re “done” with the anger, release it.
- Begin your day with a positive outlook!
- Be generous, extend your gratitudes to others.
Take little bits and pieces as you’d like, whatever serves you at this moment! Simply breathe, hold it in, and release it all out. Smile, take life’s rough “patches” as a challenge, and keep on keepin’ on!
“Kunga” is a Kenyerwandan word meaning “to serve or help”. The mission of all Kunga Yoga programs is to offer the teachings of yoga as a path of service to the planet, it’s people, and all beings.
See our class schedule to find a Kunga class that meets your needs!
For more information on Aparigraha and “non-possessiveness,” click here.
Written by: Charlee Ulmer