Yoga Yamas: Aparigraha, or Non-Greed

The language of yoga is Sanskrit, and Sanskrit words mean so much more than a simple and direct translation can do justice. We do our best to express the concepts in English.

The next and final yama is one that feels to me to go beyond anything I can describe fully in words: aparigraha.

Aparigraha: Non-greed

Non-possessiveness, non-attachment, don’t take more than you need

Do you have a tendency to hoard things? ⁠

When the shelves are empty, there’s nothing left for the next person.⁠

If we regard the next person’s needs as highly as we do our own, our behavior might be a lot different. ⁠

Consider our impact on the environment and the next seven generations… 

Ways we can live in the spirit of aparigraha

-Don’t hoard things. Share what you have.

-Notice to what you feel attached. Attachment and greediness go hand-in-hand. Are you attached to certain people, things, or ideas? What about stories you tell about “the way things are” or “why I am the way I am”? Where are you un-budging, and is it still appropriate to stand your ground so firmly? Or, is that very ground beneath you moving?

-Become aware of areas in your life where you feel like you don’t have enough and you’re grasping for more. Question the truth of this feeling. It may be that you need more. On the flip side, it may be greed. The feeling that we will one day in the future not have enough can lead to greediness in the present.

-Accept only what is appropriate.

Sutra 2.39


For more on aparigraha and the other yamas click here

For the niyamas click here