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Such equanimity is called yoga

desire gita wisdom yoga yoga definition Apr 06, 2023

There are many, many definitions of yoga, which change according to the time period, the text, the tradition, the practice, and the teacher. This week I've been thinking about one definition that has helped me out when navigating challenges. It comes from the Bhagavad Gita, one of yoga's foundational texts (chapter 2 verse 48):

योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || 48||

yoga-sthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya

siddhyasiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga uchyate

Translation: Being steadfast in yoga, perform your duties, O Arjuna, having abandoned attachment and being equipoised in success and failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.

For me, this doesn't mean that a yogi can't have goals and desired outcomes. Desire, after all, is the foundation of the universe. But if things don't turn out as I had hoped: can I still be ok. If you're stuck somewhere relying on success, or fighting furiously against failure (in your career, in your relationships, in your health, even in your handstands!) - can you relax your grip. Breathe into the vast, soft space that opens up. Notice the energy that becomes available when you stop relying on an outcome, and meet reality as it is. Such equanimity is called yoga

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