[b]I, 13: tatra sthitau yatnah abhyasah

Of these two,
is the continuous struggle
to become firmly established
in the stable state
of the true Self.

I, 14: sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara aseivitha drdha bhumih

That practice
is indeed firmly grounded
when it is pursued incessantly,
with reverence,
for a long time.[/b]

M. Stiles

Continuous effort is required to progress from the vritti state to the nirodhah state. Swami Satchindananda emphasizes that this practice of abhyasa is 24/7…?it means you become eternally watchful, scrutinizing every thought, every word, every action.? (p19). Iyengar advises ?to practice intensely all the yogic principles, from yama to dhyana.? (p 59)

One?s practice of abhyasa should have three qualities or qualifications:

  1. it must be practiced continuously not on & off

  2. it must be practiced in ?all earnestness?. Swami Satchidananda explains that this means ?with full attention, with the entire application of your mind, and with full faith in your achievement.? (p 20). He points out that for worldly success, one is willing to work day and night, postponing eating and forgoing sleep. But what is one willing to do for spiritual success?

  3. it must be for a long time. Swami Satchidananda underscores that Patanjali does not say for how long. He says we want to see the results of our practice immediately. However, we must persist regardless of the results. ?If you are (that) patient, your mind is settled and what you do will be more perfect. If you are unsettled and anxious to get the results, you are already disturbed; nothing done with that disturbed mind will have quality.?(p. 22)

Swami Shyam counsels us not to become discouraged or disheartened if we don?t achieve a stable practice immediately; the point is to persevere and success will follow. Iyengar offers advice for the opposite problem, of achieving success: ?success may inflate the sadhaka?s ego, and he should be careful not to become a victim of intellectual pride…? (p 60)

This sutra is especially meaningful to me. The one quality that i do have is persistence. But i have just been focusing on this aspect because I am successful with this. I also have the patience. However, i lack the full earnestness. Just recently, i was willing to forgo sleep to work continuously to finish my experiments. For sure, I have never done this for my practice. Rather, I usually shorten my practice so that I can sleep longer. And while I have patience with my spiritual practice, I definitely did not have it with my experiments…I so wanted to get the results that my mind had become agitated and unsettled. Hmmmmmmmmm. It is time to apply yogic principles to worldly pursuits and worldly earnestness to spiritual pursuits.

Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993

Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham, VA: Integral Yoga Publications. 2004

Swami Shyam, Patanjali Yog Darshan, India: International Meditation Institute, 2001, 3rd. edition.

Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002


Oh Lavina I so agree with you. Applying yogic principles to worldly pursuits. It’s as if each time I meet this sutra I am reminded of my own path. My own personal block is the regular practice, which I’m sure many others can relate to. But when I sit and think about it, I am aware of not just my physical practice but the mental practice too which is now as automatic as breathing. It’s as if I pause to think just as I would pause between breaths.

Alistair Shearer writes ‘The practice of yoga is the commitment to become established in the state of freedom’ (I-13) and ‘The practice of yoga will be firmly rooted when it is maintained consistently and with dedication over a long period’ (I-14).

May we all continue to practice.


Sutra 1.13 tells us what we must do to “still the fluctations in the consciousness and then to move towards silencing it.” We must practice “intensely” the eight limbs of yoga. I feel this Sutra sets a great challenge for me. Yet, by knowing clearly what is expected of me, I am given the chance to make some progress along this path. So, I accept the challenge and do what I can, knowing how difficult this can be.

Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
B.K.S. Iyengar (Harper Collins 1993)


Sutra 1.14 explains how the “yogic foundation is firmly established.” This comes about through steady, consistent, earnest and attentive practice and where attachment to achievement and success are absent. I believe all yoga practioners need to constantly remind themselves of this Sutra.


I concur with Liz on the difficulty of maintaing a regular practice; I swing from intense to almost giving up!. Summed up for me as needing “a positive , self-disciplined attitude with a long-term view of eventual success”. We musn’t forget though not to ‘beat ourselves up’ for failure, as surely that is not practising ahimsa? If I start a day afresh without carrying yesterday’s failures or successes then I think I’m making some progress.


Practice, practice all is coming - my teacher Derrk Ireland said that this is what Patabhi Jois says - I don’t feel I can add any more to this discussion.