Monday, April 23, 2012


How is practice different from training?

To nod toward Patanjali, practice (abhyasa) means "persistent effort to attain and maintain a state of stable tranquility" (1.13)

"To become well established, this needs to be done for a long time, without a break." (1.14)

Deeply braided together with this idea of practice is non-attachment (vairagya), or "holding apart" (vai) one's "passions" (raga). (1.15)

There is nested within Ashtanga however an element of training — to me, to train is to set a road map or plan, establish a structured practice, and move toward a specific goal.

To learn this system we first focus on the physical minutiae: arms up, head up, head down, jump back, etc, etc. This immediate goal or the object of "training" would be something like "to learn the primary series."

It's hoped over time attention and consciousness enlarges to encompass more subtler layers of self (koshas).

As Jois used to say: "One year? Two year? No — lifetime!"

This enlargement is contingent on setting an appropriate intention (sankalpa), as intention steeps and suffuses practice.

What starts as training becomes practice.