Over the past three years I’ve chosen the month of February to practice hard core aparigraha. I resolve to buy nothing for one month. This is a full month of trusting that I have enough and I don’t need to get anything new—or used for that matter, nothing to be added to my possessions. The practice involves not charging anything on credit, not even that new iTunes song I love; not paying for anything with cash, no Starbucks for a month. I would, of course, still pay my regular monthly bills, buy gas for the Prius and buy food at the grocery store (no restaurant or deli food though.)
It is amazing the things we notice when we take on such practices. Like how much unnecessary stuff gets purchased without thinking. And the exorbitant amount of waste that gets generated as a result of this mindless shopping.
This month, being that I no longer have a paycheck and I’m teaching yoga on donation… I thought this might be a good time to go back to the practice of aparigraha, a soft version of it. Focus on “Do I really need that?” and “I already have all the money I need in this moment.”
So, June 3 comes around. My husband and I are at a local yoga studio. The special is $30 for the first week. We are filling out the forms. I get my cash ready, I think about paying for my husband, but I realize that I am in a savings mode and I might need that money later. So, just pay for Xenia and I act like it’s no big deal. I whisper in his ear “you have monies with you, right?” Kiss.
You’d think I felt richer for the rest of the day with the extra $30 in my wallet. But, it was quite the opposite. I felt greedy, selfish, conflicted, and out of integrity. Those 30 bucks felt toxic. How many times has my Yogi Tea taught me “It is not what you have that is your greatness, it is what you can give”?
But I guess I needed to learn this lesson all on my own. Aparigraha is about pressing the pause button on accumulating more stuff. Not so I can cling tightly to my precious possessions. But so I can share them. Aparigraha is about being generous, it’s about letting go, and it’s about trusting.
My yoga practice enables me to become aware of these behaviors and get back on the path. Practice, practice, practice.
Xenia G. Brat – is originally from the rich land of Pura Vida, Costa Rica. She currently lives in sunny San Diego, with her husband, and teaches yoga at Green/Flash, a donation-based studio in Cardiff by the Sea. She teaches a fusion of Bhakti, Kripalu, Vinyasa and Power yoga; a practice of love, devotion and gratitude, and a constant search for a new edge. Follow Xenia on Facebook at Pura Vida Power Yoga. Find her at: http://puravidapoweryoga.com/.