Last Updated: June 29, 2016

Definition - What does Abhyasa mean?

Abhyasa is a Sanskrit word meaning "practice" and refers to a practice that aims at achieving a tranquil state of mind. Sage Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, explains the importance of abhyasa and vairagya (detachment) to achieving a yogic state of mind.

Patanjali defines abhyasa as the practice or discipline that is used to attain and remain in a state of harmony with the self. The great sage recommends three essentials for practicing abhyasa: practicing for a longer time, practicing without interruption and staying committed to the practice.

Yogapedia explains Abhyasa

While abhyasa and vairagya are opposite terms - with abhyasa referring to a "never give up" attitude and vairagya about a "letting go" attitude - they are the core principles that support a yogi's efforts at mastering his/her body, mind and soul. While abhyasa takes the yogi toward perfection, vairagya helps the yogi remain undisturbed to attractions of the world, thereby complementing the efforts of practice. A perfect balance of these two helps the yogi make such spiritual progress.

Abhyasa is not just limited to yogic practices such as asana, pranayama and dhyana, but involves one's day-to-day activities. The more focused the yogi is in every action, the quicker will be the spiritual progress.

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