The open hand of Aparigraha

We’ve already talked about Patanjali’s yamas, or rules of conduct, in a previous posting, but I want to expand on the concept of aparigraha (the fifth yama).  Aparigraha is defined as non-possessiveness, non-grasping, non-attachment and is sometimes referred to as having an “open hand”.  Aparigraha can be seen in the hoarding of possessions and even the obsessive collecting of friends, or an extreme attachment to a particular yoga teaching method.  As one of my teachers likes to say “if we are desperately holding onto all of our possessions with both hands, we won’t have one hand free to receive our blessings”, and hence the “open hand”.

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