Definition - What does Parigraha mean?

Parigraha is the concept of possessiveness and greed. It also refers to the desire for and attachment to material things. The word comes from the Sanskrit, pari, meaning “on all sides,” and graha, meaning “to grab.” Therefore, the term may be translated as "taking more than one needs."

In yoga, parigraha is the opposite of aparigrapha (non-possessiveness). Striving for aparigraha, or eliminating parigraha, is one of the yamas (restraints) that the sage, Patanjali, lists in his Yoga Sutras.

Yogapedia explains Parigraha

Patanjali suggests that parigraha distracts the yogi from positive motivation. The yogi should do good because it is the right thing to do, not because of material reward or even a sense of self-satisfaction.

Avoiding parigraha is one of the key lessons in the Bhagavad Gita, which says a yogi should give up possessions or attachments 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. Eliminating parigraha is one of the steps on the road to enlightenment and moksha (spiritual liberation from cyclical rebirth).

In the context of a yoga class, parigraha can manifest as the desire to perfect a pose someone else has mastered, rather than accepting what one's own body is capable of doing.

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