The sutras help to give us tools to walk through this path of life. We will start to explore the sutras in blog posts coming up. They won’t be in any particular order, but moreso what speaks to me in the classes and community we have built together. Let’s start with practice and non-attachment. Sutra 1.12 represents the dualistic nature of what yoga is and the juggle we have with life as we walk down the windy road. If we can master what this sutra is telling us, we can essentially begin to master the Self and begin to rest in our own true nature.
Sutra 1.12 discusses abhyasa and vairagya. It means we can restrict the fluctuations of our mind (vrittis) by practice and non-attachment. It represents an interplay of opposites which also corresponds to the dualistic nature of yoga. Yoga literally means to unite or join opposites. This sutra is beginning to touch on one of the dualistic qualities of yoga. The practice of yoga is a means to approach the seeming contradictions of our lives. We practice to become stronger and more in tune with ourselves, yet we practice non-attachment so we don’t get stuck or hung up on any results or expectations. The practice over a consistent, long period of time helps us to grow and learn about our true nature and our true Self, yet to truly connect and rest in our true Self we need our minds to be still. The combination of practice and non-attachment allows us to rest in our True Self.
We practice a balance of work and effort on our mats to allow us to take this balance off our mats and into our daily lives. We are often faced with juggling ease and effort. How hard do we push to move forward and make our intentions happen vs how much do we relax and allow our intentions to unfold? Our mat is a place for us to explore, experiment, and feel. It’s a place where we can fall and get back up. It’s a place we can grow and heal. My physical practice of yoga is always a place I battle the ego and wanting to do poses more gracefully or wanting to be stronger and to reach more advanced poses, yet some days I feel lethargic and need to rest despite what my mind is wanting to accomplish. Some days I don’t feel like going to my mat, but the mat calls. Those times my mind tells me not to step on my mat are when I learn even more about myself and how the mind plays games. This sutra tells us that if we keep practicing and practice non-attachment we will be able to begin to still the mind. When we can still the mind, we can rest in our True Self.
The practice of yoga is just that, a practice. Over time with practice and detachment we begin to learn how to still our minds. As we still our mind, we begin to learn who we are and what we are made of on a much deeper level than any superficial yoga pose or breathing technique. We use these techniques though to learn the skills to use with our deeper Being. When we can still the mind, we can rest in our True Self.