Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Equanimity: Equanimity is the key component that fosters our maturation in yoga. Patañjali presents three ways to understand this important yogic fundamental in the first chapter alone! This is an astounding indication of its importance! In the third chapter, it is mentioned again as the ever steady fundamental that continues to apply even for the most advanced of life-long yoga practitioners. Equanimity remains the prime remover of all impurities that hinder our limitless potential (Yoga Sūtras 3.50). 1. Vairāgya ( 1.12, 1.15 & 1.16): Vairāgya means letting go of that which hinders our desired progress. This could be lifestyle choices or habits of sleep, work, leisure, activities, etc. Or, it could be notions, beliefs, day dreaming, preferences, aversion, habitual behavior, etc.
2. Īśvara Praṇidhāna (YS 1.23 - 1.29): Thinking beyond our small immediate world and considering the larger picture, and then surrendering to the wisdom of the tending to the whole.
3. Upekṣa (YS 1.33): Viewing things & people from a neutral perspective beyond the influence of our likes & dislikes regardless of whether it is familiar, unfamiliar, friendly or unfriendly. These three yogic terms are merely different perspectives on the same practice: cultivation of equanimity. We must constantly watch our mind and do what we are capable of doing to avoid allowing our habitual compulsions to over-ride our sense of wisdom. We are the ones who created ourselves this way, and it is only us who can sort through ourselves to arrive at a more efficient, a more intelligent way of actualizing our potentials.
[image credit] I chose the image of masks because our habits forming our personality and directing our behavior are in fact nothing more than masks. They are not things we need remain bound by nor identified with. They are just masks which - once conscious - can be worn appropriately according to the specifics of each situation. Equanimity gives the ability to chose who we are - to wisely chose our most appropriate mask moment-by-moment.