Cambio Teacher and YTT grad Caleb Hall is back for this week's installation of the Yoga Living Project. This week he's here to share about aparigraha in ways that have impacted his life that may sound familiar to you. Read below and to hear more of Caleb's thoughts, catch his classes Sunday 10:30a and Monday 7:15p, both at Cambio Pikes Peak.
If you have stories of your own to share, we'd love to open it up to our audience! If you're part of Cambio, email
Lessons of Aparigraha from my Friend, Loretta
Let me tell you a little story about my dear friend, Loretta.
Loretta was very committed and driven even before high school. She always went the extra mile in everything she did inside and outside of school. Through college, she pushed herself so hard. Loretta remained busy constantly and always said yes to every opportunity that she was offered. Even when she had to rush across town for a job or internship— she never complained. Well, she complained a little. However, even when she got sick and felt broken down, she persevered in her business and rarely took breaks. Once she was out of college, she was completely worn down and tired. She was lost and did not know what the future held for her, yet, she remained occupying herself with jobs, errands, and more and more work. One day, she was driving to work and was noticeably running on fumes. She had a moment where she stopped at a red light, and when that light turned green, she could not bring herself to continue forward. The constant working and stress had worn her down so much so that it nearly killed her.
Loretta, in case you are wondering, was my dear 2004 Hyundai Tiburon.
Did I expect my car to break down so suddenly? I perhaps had an inclination, but I could not have told you when it might have happened. I knew that my car needed a lot of work to be remotely functional, however deciding what to do with my car only led to further questions.
Months prior, I had been considering fixing Loretta. Fixing my car meant that I had an intention to stay in this city or that I intended to keep the car until I could sell it. The other option was to sell the car. However, if I did sell the car, did I want to move? I had been saving money for a large geographic change in my life, so if I sold my car, would it be time to move? Where would I move? Perhaps I would drive the car until it was no longer drivable, but then what? I did not think a new car was even an option.
You see, every possible question about what to do with my car prompted a flurry of unanswered decisions about my own life. It affected me so much that every single time I got into my car to drive, I was reminded about all of these unmade decisions about my future. I was having an existential crisis in the morning each day when I would hear the squeal of the timing belt. I would feel the exhaustion of my poor vehicle burdened by me and my inability to make a choice about the future.
So, a choice was made for me.
I was watching my old car get tugged onto the bed of a tow truck and driven away when I realized how much emotional energy that my car represented in my life. I allowed an object to physically burden my mind as a constant reminder of everything that I was not doing. In this way, my attachment to my car and all it represented became a blockade on embracing my present moment, for each time I sat in my car, I became transfixed on all of these future decisions I had not yet made.
I was fortunately able to purchase a new car within a relatively short amount of time. What I realized was that a new car will actually help me better fulfill other dreams and goals in my life. It serves me better by being reliable. I am able to consider longer trips in this vehicle as well as a myriad of other functional uses in my life.
Aparigraha, in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, is the last of the Yamas that he depicts. Meaning, “non-attachment,” this Yama can be particularly difficult to employ in your life. We can place so much emotional energy in the physical objects that surround us— whether it’s the joy from a plant on your shelf, the nostalgia from an old t-shirt, or the memories in a picture on your wall. Imagine that the amount of emotional energy that you feel towards every object in your room was tangible and took up physical space. Sure, a wrapper in the trash would take up less space than your favorite band T-shirt. However, when you consider your objects in this way, your room might begin to appear more cluttered than you thought. Consider how that weight subconsciously rests in your mind.
I do not claim to have this skill down. Letting go of physical objects can be difficult and consuming. However, I am attempting to focus on what the objects that surround my life provide in the present. Do I own this new pair of shoes because it makes me fit in better or do they actually serve a purpose to help me function better? All of this is subjective and will look different for you.
Non-attachment allows us to be grateful for the things that surround us. It is a reminder to not fixate on the representation of objects and to instead focus on the things that really are important: presence in the now. When we can unburden the weight of these material things, perhaps then we become more aware of the activities and things that fill our cup each day. Perhaps then we may get to observe freedom from these things that distract us from what is really important.