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Aparigraha, Santosha, and Thanksgiving


As I sat with my husband's family to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast, I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. It is not very often that we are all able to get together; even though we all live only about thirty minutes from each other. Even this time, my mother-in-law was unable to join us because she was in the hospital recovering from knee replacement surgery. The food was great, the company was wonderful, and my heart was full.

Aparigraha is the fifth of the yamas. Roughly translated, it means non-possessiveness, non-greed, or non-attachment. We tend to hold on to things that may not be serving us: too many possessions, unhealthy relationships, offenses, pride... Thanksgiving is often about sitting with family and/or friends, enjoying a meal, and counting your blessings. It is a holiday--no matter how controversial it may be--that begs you to pause and reflect on the many blessings you already have (before the clock strikes 12 and you're fighting to get more and more and more).

Santosha is the second of the niyamas. Santosha is all about contentment; finding joy in the moment. What can we be grateful for? Where do we look to find our joy? In yoga, we teach to be grateful for where you are right now on your journey. It is good to set goals, and to seek improvement, but can you do so with a joyful & content heart? There have been many Thanksgivings in the past where we didn't have much. Extended family hasn't always been the easiest to be around. Practicing santosha can help look beyond the struggles, and be grateful for what you have and where you are. Seek to find the joy in your life regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in.

This Thanksgiving was a magical one for our family. I hope my in-laws felt peace and love in our home. I hope my husband and his two brothers enjoyed visiting with their dad and felt his love for them, and that he felt their love for him.

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