Sutra 1.1: Now we begin the practice of Yoga.

For the past several years I have started my new year with a translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (one of the main texts in yoga). Everytime I read a new translation I get new insights into my practice, my teaching and my work with clients. I adore this text. If you haven’t read it I would reccommend it highly as it may offer you a new view of what yoga is. My intention for 2015 is to share a sutra and my thoughts with you each month.  This year I am reading Pandit Rajmani Tigunait’s version.

I thought it made sense to start with the first sutra (sutra is the Sanskrit word meaning thread). Atha yoganusasanam is the first sutra, which Pandit Tigunait translates to “now begins the instruction on the practice of Yoga.” The word atha is a special word. It means now, which is an interesting first word to start a text that is all about meditation. Atha also means an auspicous beginning. We are about to embark on something special: the journey of Yoga. How exciting! Pandit Tigunait added that atha is also “expressive of the self-luminous guiding intelligence residing in all of us.”

Atha is a doorway to our own intuitive wisdom that we can access in the present moment. Through that presence of being in the now we can access our own inner teacher that can guide us along the path of Yoga.

I once had a yoga therapy session years ago where the therapist asked me over and over, “what is happening now?” It was a session of me being present with myself, teaching myself about myself and being held in someone else’s presence while she was present with me. We were in atha together, and through our presence and our wisdom something magical happened.

What is happening now with you? In your body? In your mind? In your heart? By coming back to yourself (even if only for 10 seconds) you practice Atha. You practice being in the now with yourself. You practice tapping into the wisdom of this moment. It is so simple, yet it can be life-changing. Atha helps us put our foot on the path that is Yoga. Next month I’ll share what the Sutras say Yoga is! Stay tuned! If you can’t wait until next month get a translation and read for yourself!

I look forward to walking this path with you. We are all in this together.