Aparigraha: materialism and my family

Somehow with regret, somehow with hope, somehow with blame and somehow without, somehow to learn, somehow for growth and for the better.

That is what I feel when I realize that somewhere my path to living according to Aparigraha, which means non-greed or non-possessiveness, without knowing this yama, got challenged. Even though the values have never left me, new experiences, relations and environments have challenged them as well as my concerns for the environment.

When I was in my end of twenties I did not buy any clothes for a longer time even though I have always loved fashion; I was vegetarian and even started to explore raw food; I lived in a simple small wooden house near a forest; and I was wondering about the future of the planet and what it would mean to get children in a world that was heading towards many crises. It was clear that my ideas and ways of living were difficult for other people to understand even though they tried.

And then I started a new job and met my husband.

New experiences & struggles

That new job brought me in contact with children of so many different cultures and other ways of living, which I started to explore without losing my own values. However, these values were more challenged when I formed a composed family and within that family my first son was born.

Why would I all of a sudden be interested in toys made of unnatural materials, let alone toys? Why would my boy have to be surrounded by electronic devices? Why would I even consider to feed my baby canned food? Why wouldn’t we be all the time in nature?

And the list, discussions and incomprehension continue.

But I started realizing as well that my boy was surrounded by so much unconditional love and was growing up with two older fascinating sisters. So sometimes I had to give up particular fights.

In a next phase we moved to la belle Paris where the contrast of pollution and the beautiful Parisian fashion style got hold of me.

My baby boy became a toddler and started going to school; a new baby boy was born and he obviously picked up things quicker because of his brother.

There was a whole ‘new’ world for me, our Western materialized society, in which I was actively participating. One in which I had to and still have to find my way with my boys.

Luckily at that time I started my yoga teachers’ training which gave me again a better direction and understanding of life and which allowed me to live more coherently and in line with my values.

Disappointment & opportunities

That understanding of life strikes me a bit though when I see and realize that our house has become filled with (plastic) toys, piles of clothes, packages of snacks and even branded shoes…

I can feel very down and disappointed. Even more so as it is a waste of energy when the chaos in my head starts when I stumble again over those toys, when I see the amount of clothes to wash and when the daily battle starts of letting my kids tidy up.

How did it get so far? Why did I let this happen?

And those toys? Honestly, my boys can’t even be bothered with 80% of the toys. They prefer to do something with mummy!

How beautiful it would be to integrate Karma yoga within the family: doing tasks together, naturally and in full consciousness. Just as my boys did when they were toddlers….

The irony of this vicious materialistic circle, one which we should all break!


About Chaja van Boesschoten

Chaja is a Hatha yoga teacher, international project manager and digital writer. She has become so captivated by the knowledge of yoga science and the immense possibilities of the breath, that her life has become devoted to yoga.

Chaja was born in The Netherlands, she is married to a Scottish man and has two sons who were born in two different countries. She now lives in Italy and finds it beautiful to use the knowledge of different languages and experiences to transmit yoga. Yoga is available to everyone, but she sees the importance to bring it to people who are possibly unaware of it, to people who live in socially vulnerable situations, to people suffering mentally (as a consequence of the pandemic e.g.) and to influencers.

Connect with Chaja on Instagram and www.kirikayoga.com


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