Yogic Principles, Veganism, and Bucket List Item #3: Purging

So when I went to the Ananda Ashram, I learned a lot about Yoga. Not the physical exercise that everyone knows, but more of the principles of “yoga” as a more spiritual guide (Check out this page for a brief intro http://www.healthy.net/Health/Article/The_Ten_Living_Principles_Yamas_and_Niyamas/2410 ). That being said, there are “Yamas” which discuss “moral disciplines” or things you should do and “Niyamas” which discuss “moral observances” or things you shouldn’t do. I just think Y = Yes and N = No to differentiate the two. They are both phrased in a positive way so don’t think that Niyama means don’t be pure or content but instead it means don’t be toxic or impatient. Take a look below at the principles:

The Yamas are:

  • Ahimsa” — Sanskrit for “non-harming”
  • “Satya” — Sanskrit for “refraining from dishonesty”
  • “Asteya” — Sanskrit for “non-stealing”
  • “Brahmacharya” — Sanskrit for “wise use of sexual energy”
  • “Aparigraha” — Sanskrit for “non-possessiveness”


  • “Saucha” — Sanskrit for “purity”
  • “Santosha” — Sanskrit for “contentment”
  • “Tapas” — Sanskrit for “self-discipline”
  • “Svadhyaya” — Sanskrit for “self-study”
  • “Ishvara pranidhana” — Sanskrit for “surrender to a higher source”

So purging falls under “Aparigraha” which is a Yama. This means to not be possessive.  You should instead fill your life with meaning and not with “stuff” and be happy and content with life as it is. This has always been a hard one for me and I am sure it is hard for most in American consumer culture. Being happy with the life you have and not accumulating distractions. I am constantly distracting myself with things. Whether it be my shoe collection or clothes or just “stuff”. I put memories into these things instead of into a compartment in my heart. Aparigraha makes you realize that you need to live in the now and enjoy life for what it is and not worry about things outside of that. This teaching is not just in Yoga/Buddhism/Hinduism it is commonplace in all religions. Mother Theresa was famous for living with next to nothing and Christianity states that you should not overindulge in things or food or anything. That the poor will inherit the earth. I keep lots of quotes on my Pinterest ( http://www.pinterest.com/thehippiegypsy/quotes-that-i-will-cover-my-walls-with/ ) and one of my favorite is “The first step to getting what you want, is having the courage to get rid of what you don’t” another that is not up there is by Mother Theresa that states “You have to be holy, where ever you are, wherever God put you”. I feel like this tells me that where I am in life I need to be the best person that I can be and remove distractions so I can be “here” in the moment. This I am sure merges into “Santosha” or Contentment one of the Niyamas.

Food is always a distraction for me though. Although it is definitely  a delicious one and makes me feel content. I find that eating more “whole” foods and less processed is going to be a goal this year because (1) by purging what I do not need (despite its contentment it brings me), I find that I do need “food” but not junk food to clutter my system like my shoes I just purged cluttered my closet; and (2) If it is broken and no good I don’t keep it and food should be the same. This year I am saving for a bread maker. I think I am going to start making my own bread. I came upon this idea while using my gift card for cooking things and realizing I cannot buy a pretty bowl when i don’t need a pretty bowl. This is an item that is about $6 for a half loaf of Iggy’s at Whole Foods or $2 for a white loaf at Market Basket that is not at all remotely healthy and barely bread but I could make for much less and make much healthier. Do you remember “Wonder Bread”? I can still smell the bleach when I think of it. Purging things that are useless is a good task. It makes you think of what you actually need. I don’t need bleached white bread anymore, it is now useless. It serves no purpose. So I am moving on.

And those 11 pairs of shoes in my closet that I purged, they serve no purpose anymore either so look at the nearest Thrift Shop ladies because those boots were never worn….



Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.