Aparigraha: Let Go or Be Dragged

WOW WOW WOW. Our Dharma Talk with Alana Hess of NapTown Flo (go check her out, she’s epic) on January 6 was nothing short of enlightening. It was incredible to come together as a community to collaborate, digest and learn how we can revise our ways off of the mat to be more cognizant of the yama (ethical rule) for sustainable and conscious living through the vehicle of aparigraha- non grasping.


There are 5 yamas and 5 niyamas. Aparigraha is the 5th of them and BKS Iyengar sums it up eloquently:

“Before I deal with the fourth yama, continence, I will say a word on the fifth, which links to the third, non-stealing. The fifth is non-covetousness, modesty of life (aparigraha). It means living without excess and obviously the two ideas contained there are that one’s own excess might lead to deprivation for another and that excess is in itself a corrupting force. It leads to the bondage of sensuality and a desire through possessions to expand the ego. It is me, me me by means of my, my, my. If that is your attitude, the Inward Journey is reduced to farce from it’s outset. That does not imply that the creation of wealth is an evil in itself, simply that we must not hoard it as a miser. Wealth that is not redistributed will stagnate and poison us. Wealth is energy, and energy is intended to circulate. Look at your car. How much electrical energy is stored in the battery? Not much, just enough to start it in the morning and switch on the headlights. If the car is just left in the garage, the battery runs down and the energy is dissipated. But when the car moves, it generates great energy, replenishes the battery and fulfills all the needs of the car to function, including the heater, air-conditioner, windshield wipers, and radio. Energy needs to flow, or it’s source withers. By covetousness or miserly clinging on, we stop energy from flowing, from creating more energy, and eventually, by this offence against natural law, it is we who are impoverished and poisoned by our own hoarding of life’s riches” – Light on Life by BKS Iyengar

In our conversation, we focused on an element of grasping that is prevalent in our society but often hard to break the cycle of : mindless consumerism. We are sold every minute of every day to buy more, do more be more and often, as Iyengar eludes to, that quest for more leaves us, others and the world depleted. Alana was generous enough to give us all a FREE PDF with some considerations for this yama ( grab that cutie HERE: naptown flo resource ). Our conversation was centered around how we can be more environmentally conscious in order to take less and be present more. The irony of following through on this practice is the less we consume, the better we feel. It is sold to us the other way, but once we only take what we need a deep void is filled within us!


Our Top 5 Take Aways from this month’s Dharma Talk are:

  1. It’s about BALANCE. We cannot all go off the grid, eating 100% organic and only shopping at a co-op all at once. Whether the limit is access, finances or time, we have not been conditioned to live simply. Give yourself grace and do small acts with great love. Over time those will add up and before you know it it will be a part of your lifestyle!
  2. Compost: Once of the greatest contributors to climate change is food waste. An easy solution. COMPOST! You can compost in a bucket or a bougie compost bin. Do what you can with the space you have! Here’s a resource on what you can compost: https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/100-things-you-can-compost
  3. Up-cycle: Whether it’s making your own cleaning supplies and re-using a spray bottle to DIY’ing furniture with paint and supplies you already own. There are tons of ways to reuse what’s already under your kitchen sink or lurking in your garage!
    • Two cool upcycle websites – House Beautiful and HGTV
    • We also tend to be over-sanitized and underestimating the power of simple products like vinegar, limes, and more. Hit up this great article for how to use what’s already in your home to clean!
  4. Recycle it or Give it Away: If you’ve found yourself watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series or joined us in reading The Art of Tidying in our book club last year, it may be time for you to say ‘sayonara’ to that lawn mower- but before you do, ask yourself ‘is still fixable? recyclable? or donate-able?’ Here are a few resources for each:
  5. Search for the natural alternative. Alana blew our minds with some alternatives to products that can be pretty wasteful to swap them out for more sustainable, earth friendly and totally awesome swaps. Try these:

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