Yoga Vita

Musings on Yoga, Life, and the Yoga Life

Abhyasa and Vairagya


According to Patanjali’s yoga sutras, yoga is achieved through abhyasa and vairagya.  That gets me to thinking. . .

Abhyasa: Determined effort, practice, discipline. Check. After a long time of really struggling to maintain a regular practice in the midst of school, work, travel, relationships, etc, I have finally come to a place where I approach practice as a top priority and I am practicing sincerely six days a week. I’m putting a huge amount of effort into my practice, and I feel good about that.

Vairagya: Non-attachment, renunciation, surrender. Urm. . . Somehow it seems that the more I put into abhyasa, the harder vairagya becomes. I’ve put so much energy into practicing every day and keeping myself motivated to get out of bed and onto the mat, that I find I’ve kind of lost sight of vairagya. Instead, I’ve gotten a little tied up in “improving” my postures and making external progress.  As in: I’ve put in all this time, I want something out of it!  And that just leads me to being even more stuck.  So vairagya is the word of the day for me.  Non-attachment, renunciation, surrender.

I happened to find a good article on this topic by Judith Hanson Lasater that I read a while ago, really liked, and kind of forgot about.  It was nice to come across it again.  I feel like even just refreshing my memory on the concept of abhyasa and vairagya has helped a bit, and tomorrow begins a new week of yoga, so we’ll see where this goes.


2 thoughts on “Abhyasa and Vairagya

  1. it would be interesting to note that the more advanced yogis become, they tend to completely abandon their physical practice and solely concentrate on the mind. their purpose: enlightenment 🙂

  2. hi i m kishore – a life long student of yoga both physical and mental. You are right it takes long practice and detachment from worldly pleasures to attain enlightenment, which comes slowly moment to moment, contrary to a widespread belief in India. wisdom is accumulated slowly through daily experiences if we have the right kind of intellect to analyse our daily experiences, common-sense is of utmost importance here and objective attitude towards oneself, most important asset in the journey of enlightenment is control of body,senses and futile wanderings of mind also selfless service.

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