Monday, April 1, 2013


Greetings Yogis and Yoginis,

This week in class we will be exploring Aparigraha, the fifth Yama. 

Aparigraha is found in verse II.39 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and can be translated as non-covetousness and/or greedlessness.

BKS Iyengar writes that, “Parigraha means hoarding or collecting.  To be free from hoarding is aparigraha.  By the observance of aparigraha, the yogini makes her life as simple as possible and trains her mind not to feel the loss or lack of anything.  Aparigraha means not only non-possession and non-acceptance of gifts, but also freedom from rigidity of thought.” 

From Judith Lasater:  “We begin by understanding greed, especially what motivates our own seemingly greedy behavior.  Greed presents itself as the longing for both material and the nonmaterial, especially wanting more than is needed.  Whatever you stockpile – fame, money, proficiency at advanced yoga poses, or less flashy things -  you will eventually encounter two certainties.  First, all will be lost.  Second, these things, in and of themselves, will never satisfy your cravings, which are expressions of your feelings of fear and emptiness.  Sometimes we temporarily lose our way, becoming convinced that if we acquire this thing or that skill, we will finally become acceptable to ourselves and to the world.  In our fear, we have forgotten that we are already whole.”

This state of being is based on the belief that “things” can make us happy. Even beneath the neatly sorted totes of “stuff”, we need to remind ourselves that happiness comes from within.  Freedom from this compulsion to acquire allows us to seek the real source of happiness – our true self.


Next time you visit a store, think about what you are buying.  Will this purchase bring you closer to your true self?  Now, consider Mr. Iyengar’s deeper understanding of Aparigraha as it relates to our thoughts. How could letting go of rigid thoughts and opinions lead you to seek the real source of happiness?  How does Aparigraha relate to your thoughts about your yoga practice?

Reflect on all of the yamas and the interdependent nature of their practice.  Take time tomorrow morning to reflect on how your yoga practice can develop using the yamas as a guide.  Also, consider how the yamas can bring you closer to your own true nature.


Light on Yoga and Light on the Yoga Sutras, by BKS Iyengar
Living your Yoga, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life, by Judith Lasater.


paul cheek
Rushing Water Yoga
417 NE Birch St., Camas, WA 98607

Serving Yoga to Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver Washington since 2003