Relinquishing Expectations (Aparigraha)

Aparigraha is a call for non-possessiveness or non-attachment, material or otherwise. From an immaterial viewpoint, Aparigraha can also be a call to “let go” of the habits or misconceptions that restrain us. Renouncing patterns that have been ingrained over years (possibly unconsciously) will not be swift. It takes time, practice, and most importantly, patience with oneself. Habits (harmful or otherwise) are developed over time and need to be dismantled or reinforced over time as well.

Many of us berate ourselves for the things we “should” be doing. Especially presently, when we may find ourselves with an excess of time, we may be critical of ourselves for not being as productive as we “should.” Feeling unproductive is a response to our current circumstances and is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not laziness, but a reaction to the overwhelming stress of isolation. Letting go of society's or others' (including yourself) expectations can be liberating in allowing one grieve a situation. There may be concepts that were pushed on you, telling you that you need to feel a certain way at a certain time. Learning to let go of those expectations can eventually provide a sense of relief which hopefully fosters further internal alacrity.

Moving Forward

Though we may intend to do so, and however we may choose to interpret them, we will not always adhere to the principles espoused by the Yamas. When learning any new skill, we will inevitably make mistakes. An important aspect of yoga is the act of self-reflection (Svadhyaya) and the integration of the results of that reflection into one's life. As painful as some knowledge may be to acquire, it will hopefully serve as the mortar to pave the path toward a fulfilling future.

Additional Reading

More in depth explanation of the five Yamas:

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