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35 Minutes

Lesson Four | Hips

Aparigraha - Non- Attachment

One of my favorite definitions of yoga is “our connection to reality.” Yoga connects us to

what is. Aparigraha literally means non­grasping, or open handedness, and it frees us up to

receive reality in the present moment. When we unclench our minds and fists from grasping at

the past or the future, we become open­minded to receive the present. For this reason,

Aparigraha is a constant practice. Receiving reality and staying connected to it, without filtering

experiences through our past traumas, future wishes, and other veils takes presence of mind.

Aparigraha is another way of describing the yogic practice of “being” instead of “doing.” When

we are connected to reality, we receive the present moment in a state of “being” without having

to “do” any holding on or attachment to it.

 

Meditate

We’ll use mudra meditation again this week to tap into a powerful hand gesture that

mimics the flow of reality in the present moment. Place your left hand with palm facing up in

your lap and your right hand palm flat on your heart. Spend a few breaths centering yourself

here; deepening and steadying your breath through the nose and back of the throat. Then

begin moving your right palm away from your chest until it reaches about 12 inches away, then

gradually hover your hand nearer to your chest until it floats about an inch or two above your

sternum. Keep moving your hand in time with your breath. Inhale, and move your palm away

from you, symbolizing your expanded state to receive all of reality just as it is without an filters or

grasping. Exhale, and move your palm to hover just above your chest at heart­level to

symbolize your centeredness in this experience of Aparigraha. Continue the breath and the

hand gesture for up to 12 minutes meditation. If you need added help to center the mind, try

also mentally reciting the mantra “i am” each time you inhale and exhale. This mantra reminds

you that you are both centered and expanded, capable of receiving all of reality in its present

form, just as it is comes to you.

 

Journal

Forgiveness can be a powerful part of Aparigraha. Forgiveness is the art of mentally

and emotionally releasing a past grudge. It frees the mind and heart to focus on other things

instead of the past, like receiving the present moment. Today I invite you to journal on things

you might be willing to forgive ­ from the big to the small. Are you still holding a grudge and

mentally attached to the idea that you are right, and you’ve been wronged? Write it down and

explore what it would take for you to release the grudge from your mental space and heart,

where it is binding you in knots. You don’t have to share the forgiveness with the “perpetrator” ­

this is just a practice to free your own self from staying bound up in the past. One tool I often

use to help me get to forgiveness is thinking about how the other person was probably doing

their best, even though I got hurt or didn’t like the outcome, even though sometimes the

actions/words are totally inappropriate and inexcusable­ my forgiveness is not an excuse for

them to behave badly or hurt me again. My forgiveness is internal and personal. It is a gift I

give myself in order to free myself from being tangled up in the past, so that I can more fully live

in the present. So we journal the question “what am I ready to let go of today?”

 

Connect

Connection is a powerful part of Aparigraha ­ to stay connected to the present moment,

without attachment to past and future. Today I invite you to cultivate a presence­practice

through mindful interaction. Make eye contact when speaking and listening. Hug someone with

your whole body and breath. Scan the scenery around you as you walk or jog the

neighborhood. Let someone know you are thinking of them when they cross your mind. Enjoy

the experience of expanding your awareness, just by being more present to reality as it presents

itself to you in each moment.

 

Namaste, friends!