1.12 The Twin Pillars
Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam Tannirodhah.
अभ्यासवैराग्याभ्यां तन्निरोधः ॥१.१२॥
Abhya̅savaira̅gya̅bhya̅ṁ tannirodhaḥ. ||1.12||
By the practice of Abhyasa (Practice) and Vairagya (Dispassion) are those tempered.
Maharishi Patanjali has given the modulations of the mind and the aim of Yoga which is to subdue these modulations. But how can one do it? In this sutra, he gives the tools of achieving success – Practice and Detachment.
Abhyasa is the more important of the two tools and that is why he probably he uses it first. In practical life also, it is observed that Vairagya, that is detachment (and is discussed in detail in the following sutras), follows Abhyasa on its own.
Abhyasa, in modern terminology, is discipline of effort. If you want to achieve something significant and big, you need to be disciplined in your efforts. You need to work towards the goal for a long period of time and keep on working towards it day in and day out, and keep faith. There are many things that you like that you will sacrifice and many that you dislike will become a part of your routine. The vision and the discipline will keep you on path. Once you break through this barrier, your mind will become fluid and the likes and dislikes will not affect you like they did before and you will become detached which is a form of Vairagya.
In the following sutras, Maharishi Patanjali gives the characteristics of Abhyasa and explains Vairagya in greater detail so that no doubt may fester.