Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra-s (YS) I-12
Abhyāsa-vairāgyābhyām-tannirodhaḥ That centred, grounded state (tannirodhaḥ) can be reached both by letting in something new (abhyāsa) and by letting go of something old (vairāgyābhyām).
Tools of Support - What Yogic Tools of Support can we Let In to Let Go?
- Yoga Practices (abhyāsa/sādhana) – A daily Yoga practice is a dress rehearsal for our lives. The more we practice being present on the mat, the more we are present to all that shows up in our lives, which leads to radical love of self and others.
- Accepting What Is (Īśvara pranidhānā – see YS II-1) – On the road to accepting what is, we often experience anger (dveṣa kleśa– see YS II-3) as a means of detaching from what isn’t. Both sadness and anger help move us out of unhealthy clinging to what was (rāga kleśa– see YS II-3) to equanimity (upekṣa – see YS I-33) and acceptance of what is (Īśvara pranidhānā – see YS II-1).
- Self-care (Niyama) - Part of practicing Patanjali’s the eight-limbed path (aṣta anga-s, YS II-29) of Yoga is self-care (niyama-s, YS II, 32), which also carries us to self-love.
- Śauca – Cleanliness – How can I freshen up my body-mind as well as my environment to promote self-care?
- Santoṣa – Contentment – How can I feel at peace with myself and others? My teacher DV Sridhar said to me one day 10 years ago, “Live as if everything in your life is perfect. See what happens!” – radical acceptance of self and others.
- Tapaḥ - Purification – How can I purify my body-mind right now through lifestyle changes that challenge me to grow? How do I commit to these disciplines?
- Svādhyāya – Self- study – What can I learn from this situation to take responsibility for my emotions, thoughts, and actions moving forward?
- Īśvara pranidhānā – Linking with what is Highest for you such as human values, family, and spirituality/Īśvara (Divine Love) – How can I link to Divine Love for support as I learn to let go and let be?
- Social Support (satsanga) – True (sat) community (sanga) heals our hearts with endless Joy (Ānanda) and fulfills our essential need for social support. Healing, loving relationships are prime transformers in our lives. The more intimate the relationships, the more healing their potential. We need to let down our guard on a daily basis with our loved ones to keep our hearts soft and open to receiving Life’s many transformative lessons.
- Mentor/Teacher/Counselor (Gu-ru) – In the Yoga Sutra-s (YS), IV 3-4, Patanjali emphasizes the role of a mentor/teacher in removing “gu” (darkness/obtacles) so that “ru” (light/new energy fields) can flow in. The power of an outside reference, guide, counselor, mentor, or teacher is crucial, especially when our minds are veiled in darkness (āvaranam, YS, IV-31) and cannot see clearly.
In my case, I have the support of both my teachers in India as well as my counselor in Vancouver, who have all helped me transmute life’s many challenges into lasting personal transformation, step by step. As DV Sridhar once wrote me, “You are being purified into gold by the fire of your life experiences. Go through them and trust the process!”
That centred, grounded state (tannirodhaḥ) can be found by practicing (abhyāsa) these tools of support that help us let go (vairāgyābhyām)of whatever is no longer serving us.
Yoga Sutra Question
What tools of support can I practice to get grounded and centred?