Elements of Transformation
by Aparna Bararia Shah, MS – Yoga Reiki Grandmaster
The significance of any form of transformation in human life, be it health, wealth, education, job, relationship, etc. directly corresponds to changes in the levels of consciousness in terms of yoga. Any positive change requires a certain amount of awareness or awakening, which are terms associated with human consciousness. It is the conscious/unconscious choices we make that determine whether we expand or contract our state of being.
Yoga teaches us many methods to expand or deepen our levels of consciousness. To obtain the absolute experience of transformation through any Yogic method, two terms—Abhyasa and Vairagya—must be comprehensively understood and implanted or rooted in all methods of practice in our lives, established at all levels—in our thoughts, words and actions.
The word Abhyasa is associated with expansion or development of awareness through practice and discipline. Rigorous discipline in any form of yoga practice builds the mind to stay aware in the moment and helps in balancing our energies through focus and concentration. The more intensely we practice using discipline, the more awareness we create within ourselves. By forcing the mind to think a particular way or practicing certain yogic methods with conviction, steadfastness, and regimen, we create a snowball effect to harness the mind to stay in awareness of our thoughts and actions.
For example, if we discipline ourselves to ardently practice kindness, we need to make sure that we train our mind (in thought, word, and action) again and again to behave in a kind manner. By constant practice of correction, we create and expand our awareness each time, and thus, that good behavior is reinforced.
Over time and with practice, the mind gets it, and subconsciously starts generating the required or expected behavior automatically. We have to be persistent in our practice and follow through to bring about the desired change without focusing on the result. It is important to understand that our wandering mind keeps us from focusing and operating from awareness in every moment.
Vairagya means detachment, dispassion, and discernment, and this practice truly assists us in reining in the mind. This method teaches us to detach ourselves from our own mind (all thoughts, behaviors, possessions, and actions). We all take a sense of power, belonging and control by keeping our senses engaged through attachments towards everything and everyone, be it materialistic possessions, degrees, job positions, behavior patterns, relationships, etc. Only when we understand to disengage and dis-identify ourselves from everything, are we able to lose all our strong likes and dislikes that unable us to achieve a true sense of being.
The mind can be chaotic and noisy, constantly engaged in thinking and doing, due to the engagement of the senses in all activities. We endure mental and physical tiredness through constant chattering in our minds. As long as we stay engaged and attached to mind activity, there is only nominal progress in levels of awareness. Only when we momentarily separate or detach from ourselves are we able to notice our mind activity and observe the mind’s endless occupation. Detachment from the mind’s activity creates awareness towards our thinking and doing.
Abhyasa and Vairagya are applied to various yogic practices that teach us to discipline, direct and rein in the mind to focus, concentrate, and detach, which lead to expeditious progress to elevate and deepen our consciousness.
Practicing Yoga asanas/poses is one of the important elements that greatly help in bringing about stillness, peace, and love. Yoga teaches us many other ways and practices that set the goal of transformation abloom.
Aparna Bararia Shah has an MS in Yoga from India’s S-VYASA University, and holds certification in yoga education as well as being a Reiki Grandmaster. As director of Signature Healing LLC she has been providing counseling and healing services for more than a decade based on her extensive knowledge and background of techniques in yoga, mindfulness, and numerous other healing modalities. She has a passion to provide guidance and educate others in healing techniques to benefit and balance the mind and body toward self-improvement.