Urban Translations: Aparigraha


When did you fall out of love with yoga? For me it was when a teacher violated my practice, in the sanctuary of his class, in the sanctuary of “my mat.” It was then that I realized there isn’t a yoga bubble. The cocoon of enlightenment is not a cocoon at all.

It is a breakthrough. 

That’s perhaps why it always feels like a break up. In Sanskrit, we call this practice, of peacefully breaking, “aparigraha,” as in, “Par for the course, arrrrrgh! Haha.”

I first fell in love with yoga, I reckon, with my first breath. That moment when my mother silently gave me permission to be myself, in this world. There’s been much crying since. That hasn’t changed. However, with practice I become more conscious to what the tears are for, and what a blessing it is to have another day to figure out how to laugh at that citta.

Solving problems, creating solutions is man’s favorite pastime, after all. 

No heat? Man make fire. Sun on earth. Ha! 

These solutions, when developed in good intention (thoughts precede every action) support the health of many. 

That’s good.

The problem with that, however, is that we often become unsatisfied again. We’re warm now, without a problem. What is there to do? Don’t worry, man make problem.


It’s par for the course, and with 7 billion of us, that’s a lot of problems and problem solving going on. The practice of reflecting on that — the moment of meditation you have after a good laugh, is what keeps us from imploding, silently giving ourself permission to be ourself in this world, flaws and all.

The cocoon of enlightenment is not a cocoon.

It is a freedom. Love. Unconditional. 

In English, we often translate “aparigraha” as “nonattachment.” I use this word, instead of “detachment” because it is not a separation. It is a steady existence of yourself in the world, whilst the rest of us dance around you.

Allowing this dance — this flow, if you will — like a rave that doesn’t end until 8:00 a.m. without a noise complaint is aparigraha, urbanically.

To practice:  Think of something funny. Laugh. Pay attention to how you laugh. Is it a deep belly laugh? Is it a chuckle? A giggle? Are you attempting to muzzle it? Did it release sooner than you expected? What was so funny? Write it down.

Photo by Yayan Sopian, Giorgio Encinasmauro mora


DISTRICTiYOGA is a RYT-500 located in Washington, D.C. She often uses “namaste” as the first word uttered to students at the beginning of class, as well as the last. She began mindful yogic studies some 20 years ago in elementary school and began teaching formally in 2008.