"Here are two necessary components to reunite us with our True-Self. Imagine that Abhyasa (devoted practice) and Vairagya (Remembering the self) are two wings of the same bird."
-Nischala joy Devi
Abhyasa and Vairagya are two of my favorite Yoga Sutras. When used together they have allowed me to make great progress in the unity of my body, mind and spirit.
Abhaysa is translated as dedicated practice. In his book "Outliers" Malcolm Gladwell talks about needing 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. It takes time, energy and effort to make change in your life, or to learn something new. This isn't a new concept to anyone, in fact it has been taught to us throughout our lives.
Vairagya is often translated as non-attachment to the outcome of the dedicated practice. I love non-attachment, and it is not because I'm a monk who lives in the woods without any possessions. I love it because it gives me the permission to be like a reed in the wind, going wherever I need to go, as the wind pushes me.
I believe that this dedicated practice and non attachment to it's outcome is a powerful theory for people with IC/PBS. Our lives are a roller coaster, but maybe more like a psychedelic roller coaster that goes sideways, upside down and maybe even into another dimension.
Each of us has experienced our own roller coaster. You have a new treatment, supplement or diet that you are going to try. You feel a flicker of hope...a light at the end of the tunnel, you feel energized, you see yourself having your old life back, in your minds eye your future rolls out ahead of you all rosy and perfect. Then before you know it, the treatment does nothing-or even worse, gives you new symptoms you can't get rid of. The crash following this is intense and debilitating. It is hard on you and the people who care about you. It is like a void that is swallowing you whole. You cannot escape the feeling of despair and grief.
Or perhaps you have been in remission and managing your symptoms really well, and whammo! Huge flare that you cannot wrap your head around how it started or what the cause was.
There isn't a book for your body where you can look up what is causing you pain and discomfort, only that you know you are suffering and that you will have to deal with it in one way or another.
I don't know about you, but for me that roller coaster ride ain't fun, and I want off it. So that's where dedicated practice and non attachment come in. Yes I am going to spend energy trying to get better, and it needs to be consistent. The key is to not count your chickens before they hatch. I'm not saying don't have hope. But how does cautiously optimistic sounds rather than blind hope?
I also love applying this principle to my daily activities. I am the queen of efficiency and expectations. I get shit done people! Well with chronic illness that energetic state of being is a fantasy. I used to be incredibly angry all the time because I didn't get my list done, or I couldn't go to an event. Now I have no expectations about what my day should look like. Hey if I get things done, that's a bonus. I move through life way slower and I delegate tasks as much as possible. I put energy into my life with as much consistency as possible, and then I just watch what happens.
How this relates to my yoga practice is that I don't live in the future with it. I don't have this vision of myself doing handstands or being like a pretzel. Progression is not a goal of mine, I don't need to be more than I am right now. I am just experiencing my life, as it is, right in the moment. Isn't that the ultimate mindfulness?
So what would that dedicated practice without attachment to it's outcome look like in your life?