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Softening the Grip ~ Aparigraha

“It is the nature of things to change and by failing to let them change or move on, they begin to disappoint us and our attempts to hold on begin to make us stale and discontent. “ ~Deborah Adele.

Autumn has started here in the Southern Hempisphere. It's my favourite season. As a Taurean who is appreciating cooler climates the older I get, Autumn with all its earthy tones and its shift towards a slower rhythm has me basking in all this season has to offer.

Autumn is a helpful time to reflect on Aparigraha which is one of the yamas (moral guidelines/principles within the multidimensional path of yoga).

Aparigraha is the practice of allowing energy to move and flow naturally, it's the practice of non-grasping to unhealthy attachments.

By its nature, energy is always moving. Everything in life is coming and going or in a cycle of creation and destruction. Think about it for a moment....we aquire stuff, if they get old we replace them or choose to go without them. If we move and exercise our body and mind, they become stronger, more adaptive, flexible and mobile and if we don't we lose our muscle tone and strength and stability of mind. We can witness the gradual changes of colour through nature during this season, we can feel the climate shift and observe the way the trees release their leaves. Look around you and notice how you are being guided to remember and honour the cyclical nature of life.

Aparigraha is an invitation for us to let go of our grasping and clinging to the unhealthy and often unconscious attachments we can sometimes have.

Perhaps these attachments are to physical things, to "stuff". Or perhaps they are unhelpful beliefs that create distance between you and you core values, heartfelt purpose, your potential. Or the attachments you have to certain experiences, expectations about how life and others should be.

These attachments can also come in the way you hold an image about yourself or others. When we accumulate more and grasp onto our attachments we can end up "suffocating" ourselves leading to experiences of suffering (duhkha). What we cling to can bring clutter in the body-mind field leading to a fogginess in our perception, or a felt sense of dis-ease and imbalance within the energetic and physical layers. It can effect your capacity to expand and have space for the next stepping stone that the path of life wants to bring you.

And so why do we tend to cling and grasp? Us humans are so beautifully complex! Perhaps it is because we forget about our true nature of wholeness. And so the "not enoughness" tendencies start to effect our choices around grasping and attachments. I know for me these attachments have often been a convenient (atleast in the short term) distraction away from other things or situations that I'm avoiding.

Please remember, the human experience is ever evolving and it's integral that you foster compassionate attunement towards yourself through exploring these inner inquiries.

Yoga is not a practice that requires your perfection, rather it invites you into deeper states of presence and honesty as you move through life experience.

Becoming curious about your tendencies to grasp and cling is more about reflecting on the belief you may have about yourself in your relationships with yourSelf, with things, with others, situations and expectations as opposed to ridding yourself of all things and people. It is through progressive compassionate inquiry that you can come to see and know yourself more truthfully.

When the letting go does happen, when there is a softening of the grip and letting go of the “ownership” something beautiful can occur- we can open the mind and heart with more ease to be fully immersed in appreciation for life and one another.

A greater immersion into the everyday opens up - because you remember and acknowledge the impermanence of things.

Like the intelligence of your conscious breath, you can breathe in with greater depth and enjoy the fullness of your inhale, (and what is available to you in this moment).

And to then let go and empty out just as deeply, enjoying the release and lightness the exhale brings, (softening your grip and releasing in appreciation for what was).

Think of your practice as an opportunity to “sweep the dust and the residue”, to help reduce the mind clutter so that you can return to your wholeness that is already there. Through compassionately “dissolving the veil” you can see and feel with greater clarity, connect with life with deeper intimacy and walk through life with more vitality and gratitude.

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