The Power of Practice

By Manorama

A primary principle in expanding your yogic development is Abhyāsa. In Sanskrit, the word Abhyāsa means practice. Yoga teachers remind their students again and again “To stay with it,” “Get on the mat” or “Open the books” and spend time honing yogic discipline through practice. The teacher knows it is through practice that the student will make progress and steady growth in the development of Yogic wisdom.

In Abhyāsa there is a joining of two elements, Abhi + Āsa. On a sound harmonic level when the i in Abhi meets with the Ā in Āsa, the result is a sandhi, (harmonic sound blend), that allows you to express the word with fluidity and ease. Thus, transforming the i to y, making Abhy + Āsa become Abhyāsa. The word Abhyāsa itself is made up of two elements, Abhi which is an intensifying prefix, and Āsa, which signifies seat or the present. Thus, to engage Abhyāsa on an etymological level means to focus on being in the present or to intently take the seat.

The primary āsana or seat in Yoga is the seat of beingness or Sattva. Through Abhyāsa, intense focus on yogic practice and teachings, you experience real inner tranquility and inner space. At this point, you are able to access sattva. And not only access it, you are able to be a place where beingness can settle within yourself. Sustained contact with sattva means a lasting transformative connection with the highest Self. Put in laywoman’s terms, regular Abhyāsa, practice, leads to the experience of sattva, wisdom, tranquility and inner peace.

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