Lessen Your Grip to Experience Pure Joy

What yogic philosophy has to teach us about possessiveness, grasping and attachment

The last Yama is Aparigraha which translates to non-hoarding, non-possessiveness, non-attachment, non-grasping or non-greed. As you can see, there is a lot of overlap between the Yamas. Brahmacharya, the fourth Yama, points to moderation, a very similar concept.

This is the sixth post in a series of posts about the 8 Limbs. We are still exploring the first limb, but if you’d like to read the other five and an overview first, go here. I’ll wait.

Aparigraha asks us to be discerning about wants versus needs. It asks us to release control — of thoughts, things, outcomes …

And not practicing Aparigraha can take many forms. What are you most attached to? In what areas do you struggle to release control? And speaking of control, do you have issues? I only ask because I do — I really had no idea until I started examining these concepts. I’m kind of a control freak, OMG.

Examples of not practicing Aparigraha

  • Do you complain about the weather, wanting it to be different than it actually is?
  • Have you struggled with projects not moving the way you want, or at the pace you want? Think: building a house, opening a business, starting/creating something new
  • Are you attached to the number of likes and followers you have on social media — or Medium? Do you incessantly check your stats?
  • Do you want your spouse to act in a different manner than he/she does?
  • Do you entertain people instead of allowing them to have their own inner experience when they are with you?
  • Are your expectations of your children different than the expectations they have of themselves?
  • Have you broken a bone (or sprained something) during sports season or while training for a run/physical event and felt frustrated at your lack of control?

Anytime you want something to be different than it actually IS, practice Aparigraha. Often times we want something so badly and later discover that the thing we wanted was far less than what we actually got.

Aparigraha is also about releasing control of the outcome and paying attention to the act or the process. It’s about really living through the event versus trying to change it to mold the outcome.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. ~Wayne Dyer

Do good things. Put yourself out there. Release the outcome. Soften. Surrender. Repeat.

Thanks for reading. Did you enjoy? Please tap the 💚 to recommend it to others. Namaste …


Hi! I’m Heather, a writer and yoga educator from SE Ohio. I share daily-ish here as part of my spiritual practice, and am working on my first book, Yoga Prayers. Download the first 25 pages, A Prelude to Yoga Prayers, for a brief introduction into yoga history and philosophy — and let me know what you think! Yogis, I’m also looking for stories to include in the full version of the book — how you came to yoga, what you’re learning, how you’re applying the 8 Limbs. Reach out!