Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Abhasa Mean?

Abhasa is a Sanskrit word that translates as "constant exercise." It is the practice that brings stillness to the mind, and Abhasa was introduced in the "Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" in sutra 1:12 — "Both practice (abhyāsa) and non-reaction (vairagya) are required to still the patterning of consciousness.”

Abhasa refers specifically to the spiritual practice of yoga that is cultivated over a long period of time and is both consistent and regular.


Yogapedia Explains Abhasa

In modern times, we refer to yoga as a "practice," and we understand that we have to perform yoga; physically, mentally and emotionally to achieve the benefit of stilling the mind — this is part of what abhasa is. In it’s full meaning, abhasa is both the constant effort of the practice of yoga and our commitment or intention to practice consistently over a long period of time. When abhasa is combined with the practice of non-reaction, the mind can be stilled into silence and our consciousness becomes unbounded.

Abhasa can also be defined as the consistent, persistent effort to understanding the Self through the practice of yoga. Abhasa requires us to be present at all times with our intentions, actions and the goals of our yoga practice.

The effects of abhasa are cumulative, the more we remain steady and cultivate abhasa, the more intentional and focused our practice becomes and the more abhasa we create. Eventually, the effects of our practice on the mat become part of our every action and thought throughout our lives and lead to unbounded consciousness and enlightenment.

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