Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.12

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1.12 Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness [Iyengar]

These thought patterns are mastered through practice and non-attachment

This sutra is a key one, as it outlines the two things upon which the whole of yogic practice rests: practice and detachment. The thought patterns referred to are from 1.6:

  • correct knowledge / perception
  • incorrect knowledge / perception
  • imagination / fantasy / daydreams
  • sleep
  • memories

So these five fluctuations in our minds can be stilled or quietened through practice and detachment. Iyengar describes these two aspects as being polarised – practice is the positive aspect (what you do), detachment is the negative (what you don’t do), together forming a perfect balance. If we still the mind, we can see and understand things as they really are. As we will go on to see, the yamas are the detachments (e.g. from stealing, from lying, from violence), and the niyamas are the practices (e.g. contentment, cleanliness, self study), along with asana, pranayama and meditation.

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