Makes no sense, right?
Actually it does, and it forms the very basis for our yoga (in my humble opinion!). If you have been in a class with me throughout October, amongst all our balancing, this has been the theme to our practice, so I hope it has made sense. Let me shine some light.
In sutra 1.12 of Patanjali’s yoga sutras abhyasa and vairagya are introduced,
“these mental modifications are restrained by practice and non-attachment”.
Abyhasa, or practice, is what keeps us going; it’s that dedicated application of whatever it is that you believe in, what you’re working towards. Whereas vairagya, which can be translated as dispassion or non-attachment, essentially teaches us to detach and let go from distractions. These two elements together are incredibly powerful, both on and off the yoga mat. In our physical practice, abhyasa reminds us that we have to keep showing up, we have to continue putting the work in, putting the effort in. Keep going! Vairagya teaches us, in our physical practice, to find the ease, to not push too hard, essentially, to let go – why is it so important to get yourself into that arm balance anyway?!
Personally, for me these are much more vital lessons off the mat, and probably for a lot of us right now. We need the motivation and discipline from abyhasa and we need the gentle reminder from vairagya that we can surrender, let go and distance ourselves from things that cause us pain, or disturbances.
Practice is what leads us in the right direction, whilst non-attachment allows you to continue on your journey without getting distracted.
It’s a fine balance between the two, a balance between effort and ease, a balance between letting things happen and letting them go. And that, my friends, is why yoga is not easy, yet SO worthwhile!