Aparigraha: The Yama to save the planet

Aparigraha: Non-hoarding. The last of Patanjali’s yamas, yoga’s ethical codes, aparigraha instructs us to consume and collect less and to let go of our attachments to material things.

Monks, ascetics, and a handful of modern yogis have known for hundreds of years that having more “stuff” is not what makes a person happy.  True happiness, they taught, comes from within, from the quality of our personal relationships, and interactions with our local environment and community.

Finally, after decade upon decade of pursuing the theory of “bigger, better, more,” experts are now acknowledging what those folks have known all along.  In the film, “The Economics of Happiness,” the filmmakers make the connection between the drive to consume more, the level of happiness of the globe’s human (and non-human) population, and the current global environmental crises.

Jennifer Kongs puts it best in her post Stop Spending Money: How Consumerism takes its toll on our happiness:

“it turns out getting to know your neighbor, heading to your local farmers market, and taking a stroll outside instead of a drive in a new car doesn’t just impact the environment and build stronger communities — both worthy goals in themselves. It will also make you smile.”

How can we put the principle of aparigraha into practice and still live out “The American Dream”?

Is eco-conscious, self-aware living incompatible with modern-day living?

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Ashlee is Assistant Editor for the Earth Current at Yoga Modern and considers herself a lifelong learner. After graduating from university with studies in Political Science and Spanish, she fell headfirst in love with yoga. She loved not only the deep physical experience yoga provides, but also its connection between mind, body, and spirit and seemingly endless opportunities to learn. Having grown up on a fruit farm in rural Maine, Ashlee resonated most with the yogic philosophy of interconnectedness and the observance of ahimsa. She takes her practice off the yoga mat by delving deeper into the interconnectedness of the global food chain, by following the thread of a simple dietary decision to its impacts on the consumer, the local economy and the local and global environments. Ashlee currently lives and teaches yoga in Dallas, Texas.

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