Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.12:
Twin practices of Abhyasa and Vairagya
YOGA SUTRA 1.12: These thought patterns (vrittis) are mastered
(nirodhah, regulated, coordinated, controlled, stilled, quieted)
through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).
(abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodhah)
ABHYASA = by or with practice, repeated practice
VAIRAGYABHYAM = non-attachment, by desirelessness or dispassion,
neutrality or absence of coloring, without attraction or aversion
TAT = of those, through that of
NIRODHAH = control, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration,
coordination, understanding, stilling, quieting, setting aside of
TWO PRACTICES: Abhyasa and vairagya are companion practices, and are
the means of mastering (nirodhah, 1.2) the many levels of mind, so as
to experience the true Self (1.3). All of the many other practices of
Yoga rest on these two principles.
TWO DIRECTIONS: There are two directions that one can go in life as
well as individual actions, speech, or thoughts. One direction is
towards truth, reality, Self, or spiritual realization. The other
direction is opposite, and involves those lifestyles, actions,
speech, and thoughts that take one away from the higher experiences.
ABHYASA means cultivating the lifestyle, actions, speech, and
thoughts, as well as the spiritual practices that lead in the
positive direction (rather than going in the opposite direction, away
from the positive, and towards the negative).
VAIRAGYA is the practice of gradually letting go of the mental
colorings (1.5, 2.3) that lead one away from the spiritual (rather
than going in the opposite direction, giving in to the attachments
DISCRIMINATION IS KEY: To be able to do the practices and to
cultivate non-attachment, it is necessary to become better and better
at discriminating between what actions, speech, and thoughts take you
in the right direction, and those which are a diversion (2.26-2.29,
3.4-3.6). This discrimination is both a foundation practice and also
the subtler tool of the inner journey.