In the upcoming months, you may find yourself overwhelmed by circumstances. The holidays can be challenging to navigate; there will be less sunlight, there will be more demands on your time and attention.
The practice, philosophy and world view of yoga can offer some guideposts to your life. As you practice, you may find increased ease, increased steadiness, decreased attachment to expectation.
Abhyasa is the Sanskrit term meaning practice. One of my teachers defines abhyasa as “being established in the endeavor”. Yoga takes discipline and dedication to building a practice that sets us up to be able to handle our lives, inside and out.
Often paired with abhyasa is the term vairagya. Another Sanskrit word, vairagya translates as detachment or dispassion. It is important to detach yourself from the perceived value of the results of your practice, thus tempering the ego’s opinion of the quality of the endeavor. It can be tempting to let in the good and try to ignore the bad. These tendencies can build attachments and clutter how you see yourself. If you have a “good” practice day, you attach and identify as a “good” person. But, the same will happen when you think you’ve had a “bad” practice day.
Setting ourselves in this dichotomy can offer moments of pride, but when circumstances intervene (an event like the holidays, for instance) and we have less time and energy with which to practice, we will feel inferior or wrong.
Consistent practice of yoga and detachment creates an equilibrium. You’ll be able to exist in times of stress or abundance with less of the steep emotional swings that can accompany uncertainty and change. You will be able to extend yourself some grace and forgiveness when you feel your practice (or life) doesn’t look the way you think it should.