By Shefa Ali
This Sunday was International Yoga Day, The United Nations theme for 2020 was ‘Yoga for Health – Yoga at Home’, which took into account social distancing measures that are currently in force worldwide.
Yoga is a gift to the world from India, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to study this ancient science in India for 3 months. Many people still don’t know exactly what yoga is, they think it is simply stretching. There is so much more to yoga than just physical exercise, it is not only about the body and the emotions; it’s just as much about learning to think with crystal-clear logic, it teaches us to use all our resources, body and mind.
During lock down I have reflected a lot on the yogic concept of Aparigraha which is all about learning to let go.
Our lives are full of things we wish would never end. It could be something simple like a holiday or perhaps a friendship. As we get older, these moments start to increase. We wish we could hold on to our youth and we wish that our grandparents and parents could hold onto theirs.
But change is inevitable, and clinging to moments, people or possessions past or present, is a block to peace, this is the lesson of Aparigraha. If we are to awaken to the fullness of our being, we must learn to let go. Aparigraha has many translations. In its purest form, it resembles the sanskrit word for detachment and renunciation.
It’s not just moments, or material objects, that we accumulate, and then cling to furiously. We also build up and hold onto resentment, anger and pain. We acquire and defend opinions and beliefs. We are so conditioned to think in terms of ‘me’ and ‘my’ that we may even believe that other people belong to us. To begin to practice Aparigraha we have to let go of some of the physical, emotional, and mental baggage we’ve collected throughout our journey of life. That box of memories we have had for the last 20 years. We can let that go. Our beliefs, opinions and judgments. They can go too.
It’s not easy but when we let go, we grow, greater things come to us only if we trust that they will.
* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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