The Yoga Tutor

What is Being Non-Possessive?

[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 315 ]

The yogi is pleased to see others enjoying what they possess, without having any feelings of jealousy. So with the same happiness with which we enjoy our own possessions, we should be also able to give them away.

When one no longer feels the need to accumulate what is ultimately useless to them, he/she can then be happy giving. Then they get the joy that comes from making another happy (the happiness of the happiness of others).

As the Sun gives to each and all in equal manner, the yogi who gives freely for the happiness of others attains a profound grace on a higher spiritual level.

Aparigraha then, does not mean to merely be satisfied with a little, but it means to totally enjoy what you have, even if your possessions are very modest. In this sense, we see the strong connection between aparigraha and the second of the niyamas, santosha, or "contentment."

Should one find themselves in fortunate and luxurious circumstances, one should be joyful and happy, and if one should later find themselves in sparse conditions with little or no material means, then one should be equally joyous and content.

Knowledge of the highest truth -- the impermanence of everything -- along with the fundamental characteristic of nature, which is change, is the key to embracing this equanimity. We must simply use things, but without becoming dependent on them for our happiness.

With an attitude in the spirit of aparigraha one will be left with a wealth of time and energy, which previously were wasted accumulating and preserving things of no real, lasting value. With this vast new resource, the seeds of an even greater crop can be sown, and in this way, our efforts in yoga will begin to extend from ourselves to all of humanity.

The wise, who practices aparigraha, will say, "I have not renounced anything. You, in your delusion, are the one who has renounced what you have most precious -- the state of fusion with the Divine."


NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world 
... It is indeed a masterful work."


Dr. John Michael Christian


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