Definition - What does Aparigraha mean?

In Indian philosophy and yoga, aparigraha is the concept of non-possessiveness, non-greed and non-attachment. It is one of the yamas, or codes of ethical behavior, listed in Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. The last of the five yamas teaches that one should take only what one needs or serves and let go of the unnecessary.

The word comes from the Sanskrit a, a prefix meaning “non”; pari, meaning “on all sides”; and graha, meaning “to take,” “to grab” or “to seize.” Therefore, aparigraha translates as "not taking more than one needs."

Yogapedia explains Aparigraha

Aparigraha is the concept in which possessions should include only what is necessary at a particular stage in one's life. It is a form of self-restraint that avoids the type of coveting and greed by which material gain destroys or hurts people, other living things or nature in general. Aparigraha is the opposite of parigraha, which means "the focus on material gain."

Aparigraha is one of the main lessons in the Bhagavad Gita, which states that a yogi should give up possessions that hinder his/her yogic path. Doing so frees the yogi from dependence on sensual and bodily demands, allowing experience of the true Self at a deeper level.

In the context of a yoga class, aparigraha is the acceptance of what the body is capable of doing while practicing, rather than the desire to perfect a pose as someone else has.

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