abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah
1.12 These thought patterns (vrittis) are mastered (nirodhah, regulated, coordinated, controlled, stilled, quieted) through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).
tatra sthitau yatnah abhyasa
1.13 Practice (abhyasa) means choosing, applying the effort, and doing those actions that bring a stable and tranquil state (sthitau). (1)
Abhyasa means ‘to practice’, and is a core principle of the system of Yoga that many other principles of Yoga rely upon. It requires persistence and constant effort to acquire the level of mental calm and realisation of Self that we strive for in Yoga. Abhyasa goes hand in hand with Vairagya (non attachment), as these two mechanisms work together to elevate a student’s concentration and ultimately master the mind. Abhyasa guides the student in the right direction, as Vairagya maintains the focus away from the pleasures and the pain.
Abhyasa is practice of actions, words and thoughts that lead to tranquility. It requires that you commit to carrying out your Sadhana (daily practice) again and again, on a daily basis, without interruption, for an extended period of time. To master the mind depends on consistency in practice and without distraction. Your practice must be entered into and carried out with undying faith, as without faith there is no practice. As consistency of practice is achieved and the depth of the practice increases, the student can peel away the layers to edge closer and closer to the eternal core of our being.
By Alyssa McLeod
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.12-1.16: Practice and non-attachment. 2016. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm. [Accessed 13 October 2016].