In January many of us take time to pause, evaluate, and step into the new year intentionally. This year, I gave myself the treat of a New Year’s Day class with Misha at 8 Limbs Wedgwood. We spent more than two hours slowing down and sloughing off the pace of our urban lives, in order to experience our bodies and ourselves more fully. It was delicious!
Towards the end of class Misha let us know that she had moved us so deeply into the pace of the body because she wanted us to come to a state of fullness, of wholeness, before considering what to resolve, commit to, or intend for the New Year. This, she believed, would lead to us committing to something that didn’t come from grasping. We would not be trying to fix, or fill an internal hole, or achieve more just to feel better. We would come to an awareness of what needed to shift or be attended, rather than fall into shoulds.
And this, to me, has been a constant struggle. I come from a culture that was always striving and comparing, and a mother who was not fully present for a number of reasons. It is normal for me to feel lacking, which means I’ve spent a great deal of my life grasping. In fact, one of the reasons we’ve circled back to the first limbs of yoga these past few months was because I had skipped over the yamas as I built 8 Limbs, how ironic is that?
Aparigraha, the fifth yama (the first of the eight limbs of yoga), means non-grasping, or keeping the desire for possessions to what is necessary or important, depending on one’s life stage and context. I also take this to mean not grasping at people, or attention, or time. It is a practice of being aware of what we truly need, and being willing to be content with that.
This month, please know that you are enough. And then ask on a regular basis, for your own self, what is enough?
Aparigraha is the last of the five yamas; next month we will launch into the Niyamas, the internal restraints and we’ll kick this off with our February 28 Day CommitmentSee below for more details and plan to join us starting February 1!
A great way to steep yourself in your own wholeness is to practice self-compassion. I learned this practice from Joel Grow in early 2019 and am thrilled that he and Hanna Kreiner will offer the first Mindful Self-Compassion Series at 8 Limbs starting January 29.
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, 8 Limbs Founder and Teacher Training Director