The Fifth Yama: Aparigraha


A-The opposite of

Pari-On all sides

Graha-To take


“Hell has three gates: Lust, Anger and Greed.”

    Bhagavad Gita


“aparigrahasthairye janmakathamtasambodhah”

“One who is not greedy is secure. He has time to think deeply.

His understanding of himself is complete.”

Yoga Sutra II.39


Non-possessiveness. Non-grasping. Non-greed. Non-attachment.  Not only results, but also intent. External and internal desires and attachments.

    The final yama, aparigraha, refers to externally diminishing covetousness as well as an attachment to physical items and internally dissolving comparison and feelings of jealousy.  The previous yama, brahmacharya, challenges the practitioner to look truthfully and deeply at where one is spending energy.  This concept translates very well to aparigraha.  The more things you own, the more time you spend worrying about your possessions, taking care of your possessions, and using your possessions.  Spending time wishing that your life or personal qualities resembled that of another, is also an improper use of energy.

    Practicing aparigraha helps one to unearth the brilliance and divine nature within one’s self so that one would look only unto others with respect and admiration; this helps one realize that the good that they see in others is a direct reflection of one’s self.  

By only taking what is needed, you diminish hoarding or greed.  This is furthered when one keeps hold of only what is necessary.  Furthermore, to be aware enough to let go of that which no longer serves,  is to truly embody this yama.  Let go of not only physical items, but also of desired outcomes.

Actions should be made free of ulterior motives.  The fruit born out of an action should never be the focus, for this taints intent.  On our mats, this directly relates to relishing in and respecting/becoming aware of the journey, without looking ahead to the outcome. There is beauty and so much growth that happens in the transitions on our mats and in our lives.  

This week, I invite you to join me in taking notice of what drives our actions. Where do your intentions lie? How frequently do you do something for the sake of a desired outcome? Moreover, how frequently do you wish that you had other physical objects or qualities that another person possesses? What can you shed to amplify your vibration?