I have been really blessed. I grew up surrounded by a loving family and parents who provided me with more than I needed or deserved. They not only gave me love, but accepted me and encouraged me to be creative and be myself. I have always had more than enough in life, so why would a person like myself still feel the need to over consume? I’m not talking about food although I can definitely relate to a belly ache after over indulging. Why is it that I light up at the thought of a new pair of yoga pants that look exactly the same as the 20 I already own? …Oh, but these are this springs latest color! Why is it that my closet is filled with clothes that 80% of which haven’t had air time in years?! Why is my fridge full of food of which most will spoil before it’s eaten? What is the root of this feeling of of lack? Where does this human behavior come from? Fear of not having enough? Not having the faith in the Universe, in God, in the Divine that we will be provided for or maybe it has something to do with the abundance of mass marketing that goes on in our culture? Are we brainwashed by the constant junk mail, commercials, media, and emails all flashing tempting messages that we should buy the latest product and somehow it will make us happier, healthier, skinnier or more whole?
After much thought I’ve concluded that its probably a combo of many things and I can’t do much about that except be more careful with the things I expose myself to and have Faith in the Universe that I will be taken care of. I’ve also come to the realization that it doesn’t really matter why. What matters is that I see the cycle of consuming more than I need to, and that it’s not making me a better or happier person. It’s just perpetuating the cycle of buying more product and creating more waste. It’s just not sustainable. It is downright irresponsible and I really want to make a shift.
Let’s relate this to Aparigraha the 5th Yama (Daily Observance) of the 8 limbs of yoga. It means non-coveting or non-hoarding. In my own life I have seen myself being greedy both in my personal life as well as in Asana. If only I can conquer manipulating my body in some crazy contortion- then I’ll be happy. Then I’ll be worthy. I’ve learned the hard way through experience of trying to master many poses and jamming my body into poses before I was ready, that it doesn’t make you happier or better. It actually breaks the body down and creates damage. We practice Yoga to Unite our body, minds, and spirit in a holistic way that nourishes us and creates wellness and vibrance. Being greedy in Asana does not foster that idea. So how can we practice Yoga in a way that we are growing and taking what we need while at the same time offering our own gifts and talents out selflessly? How can we practice Yoga in a way that is sustainable, not over consume in Asana and literally waste our bodies and energy? In my own practice and teaching this week I’ve been offering myself and my students a practice that has many options. What if we entertained the idea of practicing as a offering rather than to consume the practice? What if we took ourselves only 1/2 way into the pose? What if we stopped before the edge? Instead of trying to get “better“, what if we recognized that we are already outstanding and what we have already is completely whole and overflowing with abundance? The greatest teaching of Yoga is chit ananda, the recognition of bliss. It’s not something to be attained by overdoing. It’s something to be recognized when we soften our bodies and hearts enough to feel it and see it. If we are grasping and struggling we lose the sensitivity to realize that everything we need we have, it’s inside us. It’s not our job, it’s not our clothes, its not handstand. It’s in the very essence of each and everyone of our hearts.
I’ve been trying to clear out some of the clutter in my own life so that I can feel that wholeness in my own heart with more clarity. Off the matt I’ve given bags of clothes to charity, knowing someone else really needs those clothes. I’ve cleaned out the fridge and I’m being more careful about how much food I buy. I’ve also created a sankalpa or intention to consume less and create more! This blog is meant to begin a conversation with ourselves and each other. To remind one another that we are loved and whole that there is no need to overdo, over consume, or waste. We can shift together in a way that has a more creative, life affirming impact on our communities and on our planet. This is advanced Yoga….only for professionals!
Please post your own ideas on how to consume less and create more both on the mat and into the REAL world.
I’ll start the list and we can co-collaborate:
- RECYCLE EVERYTHING
- COMPOST (talk to compost master, Laura Loreni)
- LISTEN MORE (sometimes we(I) hoard conversation)
- BE ON TIME (don’t waste peoples time)
- PURCHASE ONLY ECO FRIENDLY PRODUCTS (too expensive? skip the $5 Starbucks latte)
- I’m not going to be greedy with the list… you take it from here.
Saprema (in love),