It’s the Holiday Season, so the Internet is cranking out the 2016 Yoga Gift Guides with lists of mats, clothing, and anything bearing the word namaste including but not limited to, wall art, wine glasses, and throw pillows.
I find the yoga gift guides ironic because gift giving is actually extremely “unyogalike”. We Western yogis are into gift giving; however, our ancient Hindu friends recommended that we refrain from exchanging gifts for any reason.
They believed that the act of giving a gift often bound or obligated the recipient to some future action, expectation, or reciprocation. Gifting disturbs the neutrality of a situation or a relationship–and yogis are all about neutrality and equanimity.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely have a Christmas List and I have yoga stuff on that list; this is just one of those times when I have trouble reconciling my yoga practice, which is 90% physical exercise and 10% spiritual inquiry, with my Christian practice which is, 90% Midwestern Lutheran and 10% Northern California Liberal Democrat.
For a technical read on what Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras has to say about gift giving, I will give you this:
The five yamas, a fundamental component of Ashtanga Yoga, are considered codes of restraint, abstinence, and self-regulation, and involve our relationship with our external environment.
Aparigraha is the fifth Yama and the one raining on your holiday gift giving parade. It basically says that we should not give gifts and that we should not possess anything beyond what we need for our daily bodily existence. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that your gift list doesn’t include anything that is absolutely necessary to sustain life.
Resource: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2:30 and 2:39
Luckily, I’m a German Lutheran and my people basically invented Christmas as we know it today. So, you are welcome for the ideas about the Christmas tree being INSIDE the house, stocking stuffers, and gingerbread.
And the 90 percent of me that is Lutheran has prepared a yoga gift guide for anyone with a new age Western Yogi on their shopping list.
Förliche Weihnachtenchten and Namaste!
YOGA GIFT GUIDE 2016
This article originally published on www.groundingup.com.