Empowering Curious Minds

& Open Hearts

The Non-Accumulation of Possessions

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The Non-Accumulation of Possessions

In our practice of Aparigraha, the fifth yama, we discuss the non-accumulation of possessions. In some instances, like the act of minimalism, the non-accumulation of possessions may be quite literal (i.e. we don’t have very many things). It can also be a more subtle association of “possessions”:

      • Our relationships (i.e.: nourishing relationship(s) that feel well, balanced, and both supportive and supported, for both/all parties in place of relationships that sustain “possessive” attachment(s) )

      • Our thoughts, emotions, and ideas (i.e.: an awake yet calm state of mind that allows us a mental presence in our activities in place of an overwhelmed mind that can feel as though there are too many thoughts coming at too quickly of a pace, and we’re left constantly reacting to and following each one)

      • Our attachments to associations or concepts (i.e.: What is it to be masculine? What is it to be feminine? What is it to be a cisgender man? What is it to be gender-fluid? To be queer? To be asexual? To be a sex worker? Is there only one definition of all of these things? If so, why? Where/how/when did I learn my own definitions of what it means to be each of these things? How static/stable are each of these things? Are individuals that identify as heterosexual, but who masturbate, still considered heterosexual?)

    Becoming Unbound and Recognizing False Narratives: Identity, Privilege, and Discrimination 

    The concept(s) of gender and identity in the field of relational dynamics is tricky, y’all! In each archetype, we find our privileges and discriminations – both that we possess and those that we face in our interactions with the world. 

    Why are my rights as a human limited or expanded due to my race, sex, gender, ability, or orientation? What are the societal treatments, views, laws, and consequences of these aspects of my humanity and identity? What are they for other people’s identities? Why are those different than each other?

    Bound in Obligation and Old Structural Patterns: Self-Realization in Yoga, Kink, and Life 

    As it relates to the non-accumulation of possessions, aparigraha becomes a practice of unveiling. Of undoing and untying all those little pestery knots in our brains acquired through years of lived experience in this physical form. Along the way, we begin to form these mind-body and body-mind response memories of sorts. We develop patterns of holding our physical body to express the emotions we carry. Our thoughts and emotions are reinforced by the energy we cultivate through our physical expression and form. In our repetitive thoughts, we reinforce these patterns we may have outgrown but are not afforded the privilege to pause and become aware that they no longer suit us. That, without invalidating or disrespecting our previous need for them, they no longer support the best versions of ourselves, today. At this moment, right now.

    In this context, aparigraha, as an act of benign masochism, becomes a path of unlearning. Of shedding the social and cultural scripts and normative(s) that, over time, we have been exposed and conditioned to – that’s been baked into our social norms, experiences, and conditioning over a long, long time. Taking a moment to pause, to question, and to perhaps re-consider the pervasive and widespread mislabeling is a yogic practice and act of activism. In our various identifications, what are the privileges we have inherited or the discriminations we have and continue to challenge?

    In building our awareness of these walls and their habitual tendency toward momentum, we become aware of the lens(es) that we all carry with our varying gender, sexual, and relational experiences, expressions, and the beautiful spectrums of diversity available to us. In recognizing how to best treat ourselves and others, we honor the practice of unveiling and the journey inwards towards the self, as we begin to strip away everything else.

    Stay tuned this month for a special focus on inclusivity. Happy Pride, y’all!


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    Larissa Farrell

    Environmentalist, yogini, sex educator, & graphic designer.