Teachers tell us to ‘let go’ on our mat…try letting go in your life.
Aparigraha: quality over quantity.
I have been actively trying to make this yama a focus in my life for a few months now. To reach my goal of quitting my soul-sucking corporate gig, I have to learn to live within a budget and do some serious downsizing to my spending habits.
Everywhere from the grocery store to the shoe store, I repeat the same internal mantra—“I don’t need that.”
Immediate gratification is fighting a glorious daily battle against rational thought; what was once a simple drive by the coffee shop, now wages a cage match between ‘need’ and ‘want’ over a four dollar drink.
Yet, when rational thought gets the TKO, the rewards are tenfold. The freedom I feel by having so little attachment to my current stuff and the need for more stuff produces a physical and mental lightness like no other.
I am learning that my self-worth is not relative to the quantity of items I have; I now seem to get more joy from the quantity of yoga classes I go to, the quantity of things I reuse, give away to friends or repurpose in my home.
But, after another glutinous holiday, I feel like the world is quite a bit behind me in my journey to place less value on crap. We are still judged by the size of our home and the number of high-end gadgets we cram into it.
This really hit me in the face when I was visiting a friend in Denver recently, where beautiful Victorian homes are being swallowed by double lots and 3000 square foot monstrosities.
Why have our homes grown so much in the last hundred years? Did we grow as a people? Were our great-great-grandmothers tiny little things using dainty miniature items and sleeping on four-foot long beds?
No way—we just need more room for our junk! Grandma had only a few outfits and she was considered well-to-do. We have hundreds of pairs of shoes, dozens of jeans and a boat load of tee shirts.
Do we have such a different lifestyle that we need all of these items? No.
We just keep consuming and consuming, looking for a fleeting moment of joy when we purchase something, justify the 60-hour work week, where we spent precious time away from our family and lost further connection to our friends and neighbors.
Like anything else, baby steps are required.
Start with one thing and ask yourself if you really need it; enjoy the release if you decide the answer is “No.”
Teachers tell us to ‘let go’ on our mat—try letting go in your life.
Donate some items, find a new use for them or just do without and see if you notice a difference.
Come out from this pile of things we keep building around us and make more room to breathe.
Kim Stanley spent her formative yoga years with some of the best teachers in Fort Wayne and has practiced in studios across the country. She believes life is too short not to find what makes you happy—your true bliss—and follow it. The study of yoga is what makes Kim happy and sharing that joy with students is her Ananda. After nine years of instruction, the most beautiful thing about yoga to her is its adaptability to everyone. No matter your age, physical ability or state of mind, you can take a class and find peace every single time; it’s the only sure thing in this life. Kim will complete her 200 hour training in March and looks forward to continuing to learn about this amazing 5,000 year-old wonder. Kim has a B.S. in Organizational Leadership and lives in Fort Wayne with her husband and two children.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise