"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."— Mahatma Gandhi
One of the best ways to recognize an advanced yogi is by observing their behavior. We’re not referring to gasping in awe when someone wraps her leg around her head or effortlessly floats up into a sustained handstand. Instead, you can judge a yogi by the consistency of their practice on the mat and their actions throughout the rest of the day off the mat.
Practice and perseverance are two vital qualities needed to sustain your yoga practice over time. Especially in these uncertain times, when the external world feels different for all of us, we need to dig deep into our own inner strength and willpower. We’re here to support you in your yoga practice, no matter what stage of your practice you’re in today. Perseverance equals power!
According to the Yoga Sutras, two core principles of yoga are abhyasa and vairagya. Sutras 1.12 ––1.16 define (1) abhyasa as effort or practice and (2) vairagya as relinquishment/detachment or the willingness to allow phenomenon to arise without reacting to it. Together, these principles provide a definable path to achieve the ultimate goal of yoga or self-realization.
Abhyasa or effort means that you can’t simply think about or discuss yoga to garner its benefits. Abhyasa means that doing asana, pranayama, and meditation is the key to advancing toward a calm mind and peaceful heart. Patanjali advised three principles for abhyasa: practicing for a longer time, practicing without interruption, and committing to the practice. Putting in the effort matters most.
Vairagya, the second principle to a sustainable practice, refers to an attitude of relinquishing or releasing that which you cannot control. Learning to remain focused and not become distracted by external events helps you remain committed to your own growth and practice. Vairagya also refers to letting go of feelings of fear, ego, and other qualities that pull you away from your true sense of self. Attaining the ability to detach from all things that aren’t essential is an important step to staying true to what matters most in your life.
Perseverance builds confidence and a strong sense of inner power. Practicing the qualities of abhyasa and vairagya in day-to-day activities, not just time on the yoga mat, complements your ability to progress on the yogic path. Yoga is the practice of training your mind to direct your attention to what you want to focus on and to sustain that focus despite external circumstances.
Yoga is any effort we make throughout the day. You are what you do.
When you practice, you are creating new patterns. If you commit to doing something different and to continue to practice, you will find your inner power and peace of mind. Choose your path!
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