Practice & Detachment

The beauty of the Yoga Sutras is the gradual unveiling of knowledge. There is an eloquent order to this philosophical work that is thrilling even when it is esoteric and mysterious. The sutras unfold slowly, telling us just what we need to know when we need to know it. In this way, our minds are ready to understand and accept what comes next based on what came before. It is brilliant both in its simplicity – there are only 196 sutras – and its complexity – every word is precise and perfect. At the outset, we learned that the goal of yoga is to control the activities of the field of the mind as the means to experience our true nature. But, up until this point, there has been no explanation of how to do this. In sutras 12 through 16 of the Samadhi Pada, Patanjali offers a methodology starting with abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah: the vrittis (thought channels) are controlled by practice (abhyasa) and detachment (vairag

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