abhyāsa-vairāgya bhyām tan nirodhaḥ

Patañjali yoga-sūtra I.12

To rise to a brighter path, you have to accept that you cannot control everything.

Commitment or detachment? Both Captain! It’s even the key! 

In this sutra, Patañjali presents us his first proposal, solution or “technique” to guide us towards a virtuous path of life. He proposes that we act in 2 steps:

Part 1 of the proposition: action, practice, abhyāsa. Practice, do what you have to do with commitment, with will, with regularity, assiduity, with faith, with all your heart.
And the 2nd part, which is often more difficult for most of us, is to practice, to “do” with detachment, vairāgya.

Last two weeks, we have been working on this 2nd part of the proposition, which is often more complicated to achieve than it seems. We are talking about a sincere, deep detachment, which takes place not at the level of the intellect but at the level of the heart (hṛdaye), of the body, of the cells, of the genes, at the deepest level of being.

Yoga and transformation

To work on vairāgya, letting go, detachment, yoga offers us a panel of tools. If you participated, you may have used postures and prānāyāma that promote the expiration and lengthening of it. We have associated visualizations and sankalpa (intentions) with it. We also practiced with mantras. So many fascinating tools that allow us to move towards a profound transformation. But be careful not to get caught up in your expectations. It is necessary to practice for this purpose of course but also to accept not to control the results 100% -))
Commitment or detachment? Both Captain! This is the key!

Krishnamacharya* said he measured the “level” of a yogi not in his capacity to perform postures but in his level of detachment, in his capacity of letting go. Interesting, isn’t it?

Professor Krishnamacharya (1888-1989)

He was one of the most influential yoga masters of modern time. Over the course of his long life he shared his knowledge of Yoga as a holistic healing discipline with thousands in his own country and with many others who came to study with him from Europe and America. The yoga-sūtra of Patanjali constitutes one of the pillars of his teachings. Read More.

The teachings of Patañjali yoga sūtra

Yoga tradition holds the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali (YS) to be the foundational texts of classical Yoga philosophy. Describing and analysing in depth the human mind/psyche, it offers to reflect on the human condition and the options we have on hands to reduce suffering. There is no doubt the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali (YS) has withstood the test of time and is as relevant today as it was a millennia ago. 

Patañjali & you in 2021?

For that reason I am thrilled to pass it on to my students. Throughout the 1st quarter 2021, I will be highlighting a selection of key sūtras in my yoga & Meditation classes, mingling physical and breath practice to Yoga Philosophy (classes schedules click HERE) Classes available at Lisbon Studio Urbanbliss Lisboa or online.

Celine Chambat

Yoga teacher in Lisbon & Therapist

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Cultivate detachment with Patañjali