Aparigraha refers to non-coveting and is the fifth of the five Yamas. This Yama enourages us to think about what we really need, to do away with things that we don't need and not to place value on worldly posessions and so become greedy. This can be difficult - especially as we live in a culture which encourages us to continually satiate our desires for more and more. If we don't have the money for something we are encouraged to make our purchases on credit and so the desire for more can increase. As yogis we are encouraged to let go of the things that are unnecessary in our life as our focus is to be on living a life of discovering our true self. What do you really need in your life versus what do you really want? Learning to let go of unnecessary things is a good life lesson to learn.
Beyond physical posessions, Aparigraha can be applied in other ways. Oftentimes we can look at someone else and think 'I want to be that person.' How often have you looked at another yogi in an asana class and felt that you wanted to be able to do something that they were doing that was not yet in your practice? It is something that we all struggle with and that is why we always encourage students to be present in their own practice and not distracted by what others are doing in the room. Your mat is your space. Keep your focus inward and so you will be less likely to covet someone elses practice.
The Yamas are the moral aspects governing our life as yogis. Next week we will start an overview of the Niyamas which refer to our personal observances.