Yoga Sutra - Samādhi Pada 1.13
तत्र स्थितौ यत्नोऽभ्यासः ॥१३॥
tatra sthitau yatnaḥ abhyāsaḥ ||13||
Effort in remaining there is practice.
From these, practice is the effort to be fixed in concentrating the mind.
Patañjali now describes the first ingredient required to restrain the mind, abhyāsa, practice, and defines practice as the effort to concentrate the mind. Vyāsa, in turn, defines concentration (one-pointedness) as the peaceful flow of the mind when it has become freed from its fluctuating states or vṛttis. The effort to secure this state is practice. It is important to recognize that a controlled mind is not going to manifest by itself: Effort, yatna, is required. One is reminded here of the comment of Arjuna (who, as a warrior, had no history of serious yoga practice), that the mind is “harder to control than the wind” since it is “fickle, powerful, and obstinate.” As noted by Vijñānabhikṣu in the last sūtra, Kṛṣṇa assures him that without doubt the fickle mind is hard to control, but it can be subdued with “practice and dispassion” (VI.34–35). In this sūtra, Patañjali indicates that this practice requires effort, and Vyāsa associates this effort with enthusiasm and vigor.
Vyāsa also uses the term sādhana, which typically refers to one’s specific daily spiritual practices. In the context of classical yoga, Vācaspati Miśra understands this sādhana to be the eight limbs of yoga that will be discussed in Chapters II and III. So the vṛttis of the mind can be restrained when one is enthusiastic, vigorous, and steadfast in the practice of these eight steps.
The commentators reiterate that one can only hope to be concentrated or one-pointed—the mind can only flow peacefully—when its rājasic and tāmasic potential have been stilled. Practice is the effort involved in attaining this end. Rāmānanda Sarasvatī introduces the next sūtra by wondering how practice can ever achieve steadfastness, since it is constantly disturbed by rājasic and tāmasic saṁskāras, distracting memories and tendencies inherited from time immemorial, a question with which aspiring yogīs can surely relate.