Minimalism

Aparigraha is the last of the 5 yamas of yogic philosophy, which you can read more about here. It translates to ‘non-greed’ or ‘non-attachment’. In daily life it can be applied by practicing minimalism; in our possessions, relationships, and activities or commitments.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism can mean different things to different people. The way I like to see it is that minimalism is a way of living that cuts down on clutter and things that don’t serve you, leaving room and making time for meaningful activities that make you happy and your life fuller. Basically just cutting out anything or anyone that doesn’t add value to your life.

These days we live in a highly materialistic and consumerism-based society where it is trendy to have more of everything. Possessions, food, space, commitments, money. We multitask and live anywhere but now, always wondering why we’re so stressed and frazzled. And we have so much going on in our lives that we barely even realise that a lot of what we have and do doesn’t make us happy or add value to our lives. It just takes away time that we could use to spend with our families, friends or work on our passions and callings.

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So what do we do about this, how can we live more simple and minimalistic lives?

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to sell off all your possessions and move to the country to live off the grid in a tiny house (although, that’s a good idea too!) But sorting through what you have can be a great place to start. Going through each part of our homes to decipher what items we love and use regularly and what items we don’t and could probably do without. You will find a sense of calm once you have done this. Decluttering is psychologically proven to make us feel better.

Once you have decluttered your physical possessions it’s time to declutter your commitments. What have you said yes to that you didn’t really want to? Which of your activities could you go without doing and better make use of that time or money?

Then we need to tackle the task of our relationships. If you have relationships of any kind that make you feel drained, negative or disrespected, then you should probably let them go. No need to do anything drastic, but just acknowledge this and allow less time and energy for these people. You will be better off in the long run.

After doing these 3 main things you are off on a good start to living minimalistically! And I am willing to bet you will feel much more peaceful and free too.

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But keep in mind that minimalism is not only about dealing with what you already have and do. Be wary of what you buy from now on or commit to. Be mindful of these acts. If you really need a new pair of jeans then go ahead and buy some. Just make sure that you really like the ones you’ve picked, that they’re high quality and built to last, and preferably sustainable and ethically produced. And no need to buy $300 ones, the middle range pairs of jeans will do just as well I’m sure. And in the same way, before committing to an activity or event make sure it’s really what you want to do. Don’t spread yourself too thin or just commit to things out of obligation.

What else can we do to live more minimalistically?

  • Don’t aim to always be productive 24/7. This leads to burn out anyway. Allow 2 hrs a day for yourself. Exercise, meditate, read something for leisure, take an epsom salt bath.
  • Buy only what you truly need.
  • Unsubscribe from things that don’t add value to your life. Whether that be a social media account, certain people, emails from companies you don’t really need or care about.
  • Single task. Do only one thing at a time and be all there in what you’re doing. This creates better results as well.

If you want more specific direction on how to begin living a minimalistic life, I have added an infographic for a 30-day minimalism challenge to complete over the next month. Each day simply pick a task to undertake.

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If you still want more guidance, check out this link by Into Mind. It provides 10 more ways to live minimalistically.

Good luck with your adventure into living a more minimalistic and mindful life, and therefore abiding by the yamas which allows you to deepen your yoga practice.

Namaste, from Kaizen Yoga xx

Infographic: http://into-mind.com/blog/2015/01/01/30-day-minimalism-challenge

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