Atha yoganusasanam; now is yoga. That word atha means now, and the practice of yoga is always now. Abhyasa is this sustained and ever vigilant practice of attempting to be one with the now. When we come to our mats, this yoga is something we practice with more dhyana and concentrated focus, but the lofty goal of yoga requires that we develop this sustained concentration on the now so that our whole life becomes vinyasa. Abhyasa is facing the constant truth of our own existence (satya) while remaining unattached to the desires of the ahamkara or ego based mind.
Abhyasa and vairagya, as with all of yoga, seek to elevate us to our highest potential (ultimately God). The constant work of realizing God is all, in all (sat nam), even the ugliest parts of life, requires a great deal of courage and persistence. Because life can often be challenging and overwhelming, abyhasa and vairagya remind us to remain present “in the now”, connected to the process of divine surrender (ishvara pranidhana) while constantly working toward our best selves. We do the work because the work itself is good, and while we might not change the whole world, we change the consciousness residing within this life.