Riding the Waves with a Balance of Effort & Ease; Integrating a Core Yogic Principle “Practice” & “Non-attachment”
The Yoga gurus point us toward yogic methods that integrate the body, breath and mind to decrease our habituated patterns and bring clarity, calm, and realization of our true nature, which is free. What specific yoga principle supports life balance and inner harmony?
According to classical yogic teachings, we can loosen the habitual and dysfuctional mental tendencies known as vrittis and foster the peace and happiness that we seek through the core yogic principle, “Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tanniirodhah.” –Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra; chapter 1, verse 12.
Yoga Master BKS Iyengar’s traditional translation from Sankrit: “Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.”
Contemporary Yoga Teacher Arthur Kilmurray offers: “Practice and dispassion lead to the resolution (of dysfunctional mind states).”
Both important Sanskrit words found in yogic texts, Abhyasa is most often translated as “consistent practice” and Vairagya as “non-attachment” but also relate to a familiar, perhaps easier to digest yogic principle of balancing Effort and Ease.
A simple analogy that offers insight into the meaning of these words is that of the banks of a river and the river itself. The banks offer structure, form and guidance. This is Abhyasa. Vairagya is the river itself. When we “go with the flow” and allow the current of life to move through us. The consistent effort of containment and the ease of being…
This analogy also reminds me of boating on the river and the effort required to get into position in order to catch and move into the current of the river. Positioning the boat, often times working hard, fast and steady; just enough effort to avoid getting stuck in an eddie or on a rock or being overturned by a wave… important measures to moving downstream safely and enjoyably. This analogy invites deeper thought and a ripple of related and meaningful ideas to contemplate such as, the Self-inquiry below…
A Gift for You~ Self-Inquiry Exercise for Abhyasa:
What activities do I do on a regular basis to help sustain my health and well-being? What do I do consistently to honor the indwelling spirit? What activities or practices express a natural reverence for this embodied divine life? For example, being in nature, moving the body and keeping it fit, eating and sleeping well, practicing healthy life rhythms.
A regular practice of meditation and being mindful is also Abhyasa. Being present and familiar with a moment-to-moment inquiry cultivates an inner stable tranquility (sthitau) amidst the dysfunctional mental conditioning within us and the chaos of life.
A Gift for You~ Self-Inquiry Exercise for Vairagya:
In any given moment can I inquire, “is there ease here?” Can I allow and let be what life is flowing through me in this moment? Does Yoga support relaxing and letting go of habits and patterns that are perpetuating fear, anxiety and confusion?
Having a bigger view takes some of the personal preferences out of whatever may be happening or when moving through a difficult life situation or emotion and allows for more relaxation, positive feelings and experiences. True freedom and deep reverence grow out of Vairagya.
Enjoy your journey!