By Gretchen Karros


Even though Patanjali wrote the profound poem on Yoga called the “Sutras” he has very succinctly given Yogis a “formula” for Enlightenment = “The Sutras”  Here are two very important words that may help you  while studying the Sutras.


Regarding the Sutras of Patanjali, first one need to know about the importance of 1) inner practice and 2) non-attachment.  If there is a clear understanding of these two things,  it will help in the understanding of  all the sutras. Therefore, these two concepts are very significant.


The first word is called abhyasa – constant inner practice of a certain thing. When you learn something, repeat it more and more, it becomes a deep effort.  But eventually you may be able to forget it but now your body has learned it.  It has become an unconscious learning.  When something has become so deep that you need not be conscious of it, then it will start changing your being, your life, your character.  This constant repetition is just to being you unconscious to work – no effort is needed; things become natural.


The second word vairagya means non-attachment..  This word is not exclusive to those on the Yoga path – Buddhists, Taoists, and Zen have all practice non-attachment.  But, here are some of the inner meanings that may help you understand this word   First of all, we know that we all do certain things that come from our “desires.”  Even though you do things, and you want to stop certain actions because they lead you into misery.  You do them because you have certain desires and these desires cannot be fulfilled without doing them. Without belaboring the point, eventually these desires lead to, for instance. anger and this becomes a habit, even though it is unconscious.  For you to change requires a repetitive practice (like meditation, asanas), and to be aware every time you start desiring



Some of these word and ideas are from Osho*, a modern spiritual master.  Here he says “The deepest pattern of the mind is desire.  You are whatsoever you are because you have certain desires, a group of desires.  So Patanjali says, ‘The first thing is non-attchment.’ Drop all desires; don’t be attached.  And then, abhyasa.”

* ‘The Alpha and the Omega”



“The Asana (posture) becomes perfect when the effort of achieving it


                                                                                    B.K.S. Iyengar