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Abhyasa and Vairagya


For many of us, the new year is a time of reflection. We evaluate where we are and where we'd like to be. For many yogis, we begin to do this every time we step on the mat (do you see how powerful consistent practice would be!) and eventually this practice begins to happen off the mat, moment to moment and breath by breath. I have found two yogic concepts have been very helpful in the process of growth or transformation. 

Abhyasa means consistent practice. The ability to keep going when it's hard or when things aren't going in the way we thought they would. The ability to jump right back on the bandwagon when we've fallen off. It's commitment to where we are going. Abhyasa is persistent effort that gives us lasting change. 

To balance this effort, and equal in importance to abhyasa, is vairagya. Vairagya is the practice of non-attachment. It is the letting go of pain and pleasure that will no doubt lead our minds astray (if we are not aware of it). It's the ability to not be so attached to our path, that we get frustrated or angry when life doesn't go in the way we thought it would. It's the ability to let go of self-judgement when we haven't met our goals. It helps us to forgive "mistakes" or obstacles on our path. It allows us to go with the flow of human life. 

Working in tandem the commitment (abhyasa) to our chosen path is what allows us to get there. The ability to let go of attachments (vairagya) allows for much less suffering on the journey. 

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