A Key to Bringing Yoga into Everyday Life

Abhyasa + Vairagya [Practice and Non-Attachment]… 


Yoga is an ancient, scientific and complete method to transcend your state of being. This transcendence is from a state that resides in the mind, influenced and controlled by the ever-changing happenings around us each day, to a place beyond the mind, a place of unchanging, eternal wisdom, intuition and contentment.


I learnt this true meaning of Yoga about two years ago, on my first Teacher Training Course with Yoga Gita in Mysore, India. As I sat for each philosophy class with our main teacher, Sage ViGo (Sri Vijay Gopala), and marveled at the unveiling of how my mind works through an exploration of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, my whole perspective on life was flipped on its head.


Fast-forward to today, another 300 hour Yoga Gita Teacher Training Course, 3 months of Sadhana and half a year of traveling South East Asia… and I am still figuring it all out!


I have learnt on this journey so far through varying phases of pure frustration, lack of motivation, or a loss of trust in my practice, that the mind is far more strongly conditioned, clever and sneaky than I ever could have imagined. It has many ways to go to war with the rising consciousness.


Yoga teaches you how to observe and control the mind's thoughts, yet through this observation I began to witness how easily the mind fuelled by ego could lead me to make decisions that are momentarily satisfying or based on outside influences such as other people's opinions and social constructs.

make for my long-term, honest intentions and twists them into desires for the ‘I’ achiever. Or, how it leads me away from the decisions I know are better for my path towards a true Self-expression and towards desirable, emotionally charged or comfort seeking spaces.


So when I come to realize that whilst I am able to observe my mind's thoughts, but I have little to no control of them, what seems like time and time again, it can feel as though I keep trying to open a very locked door. 


But... as my current trip around South East Asia nears to an end, and my conditioned mind screams for a plan of what to do next, I have been taking some deep self-study as well as looking back to the Yoga Sutras to help me find a key for this locked door. In Yoga Sutras 1.12 to 1.15 Patanjali writes:


YS1.12: Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah

Practice and non-attachment naturally bring control of the mind thoughts.


YS1.13: Tatra Sthitau yatnah abhyasah

Practice is the efforts made to create stability at body breath and mind level.


YS1.14: Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara asevita drdha

A firm, stable practice comes when one continues practice with sincerity and respect for a long period of time without interruption.


YS1.15: Drista anushravika vishya vitrishnnasya vashikara sanjna vairagyam

Clear knowledge of non-attachment arises when you are not caught up by the desire of what you perceive.


Mastering Abhyasa and Vairagya is a true rooting in your intentions towards union and being able to live with a more conscious presence. So as I thought about where my frustrations lay, which was within the observation of all these daily decisions that I make – some big, most not, I found that key. Here there is an opening to bring these yogic concepts of Abhyasa and Vairagya - practice and non-attachment - into my everyday life.

My Yoga teacher - Sage ViGo (Sri Vijay Gopala), explains, “practice is putting in an effort in order to dissolve the effort”, but I see that this doesn’t just mean ensuring I make time to physically practice asana, pranayama and meditation each day, it also means practice in the way that I conduct my life and make my decisions.


“Abhyasa should be directed and lead to vairagya – only then you can call it Yoga practice” – Sage ViGo (Sri Vijay Gopala).


Non-attachment means to not be caught up in the desires of what you perceive. This comes when I know I have made a decision consciously. When the decision is better for my path of Yoga and not for the desire of my mind... suddenly the wanting for the other choice shrinks considerably.


“Through non attachment all energy comes to the presence and you are not controlled by missing out or wanting.” – Sage ViGo (Sri Vijay Gopala).


I will continue to observe and continue to practice discovering what is behind my decisions - is it driven by mind/ego or can it be driven by consciousness? I will practice choosing the path towards a true Self-expression and I will not be so hard on myself if it is not until after a decision that I realize the mind took over, because this is also a process of practice - a self-observation through self-awareness.


As I self-study some of the habitual choices I make daily, or some of the big ones I have made on my journey, I have realized that there is a subtle yet very big difference between ‘ease of mind’ and ‘peace of mind’. For this reason I will continue to question as many of my decisions as I can… what is at the root of my choices?


It takes true devotion and love for the subject to put these things into action for each and every little decision you make each day. It takes the practice of a more conscious presence, otherwise, you simply just forget and the tricks of the mind sneak in.


A big challenge for many Yogi’s is finding a way to not allow the demands of the ‘game of life’ – careers, money, family, health, relationships, socializing, ‘seeing the world’ experiences etc. takeover from the adequate time and mindset for the true.

practice of Yoga. The ‘true practice of Yoga’ doesn’t just mean practicing Yoga everyday, it means making Yoga and its philosophical background ‘a way of life’ - ensuring it is firmly rooted into all of your actions.


So for those facing similar challenges - when the ‘game of life’ takes over and you don’t have time to take a long asana practice one day, or certain circumstances have meant you can not meditate etc… here is a key that will still allow you to bring Yoga into your day, to bring balance to your ‘doing’ actions and to take a step in your journey to that place beyond the mind.

Lucy Hackett is a graduate student of Yoga Gita teacher training with a background in creative marketing and aspiring to bring the message of ‘Yoga as it is’ to her home country of the U.K.

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