Atha Yoga anushasanam
Now, the teaching of Yoga.
This is the First verse of Yoga Sutra written by Petanjali. This book is written in very short verses and this is made because the goal is to attract the attention of the reader.
The First word is ”Atha” and this words mean ”now. With this short words, Petanjaly try to take your attention and want that your thoughts are left behind. Now it means, we focus in this lecture, Now is the time to focus in Yoga.
The second word is ‘Yoga” and this word it means union, this word is the second starting point of your journey. From ”Now” you should focus on the union (Yoga) of the Body, Mind and Soul. Without this second words with the actual meaning of Yoga, there is any effect but just simple stretching.
The third word is ‘anushasanam’. This word is a statement that means practice. If we don’t surrender to the practice of ”Yoga”, ”Now”, there is not a reason to start reading this book. By practicing we are not talking about what exactly in this Sutra, but we are focusing more on Surrender of the practice and discipline that the practice itself it gives to us.
This is the comment that I have, I wish to know your thinking about your comment of this very important verse.
If you haven’t read yet Yoga Sutra and you are already practicing. Step back, buy the book, I suggest in your native language, because is a very deep book and take your time in reading it. This book shouldn’t be rush but should be understood and is part of the path of Yoga, can be slow, can be quick; it doesn’t matter, what it matters is to read and surrender.
If you’ve never heard of YogaSutra and you are practicing Yoga, take a step back and read first this post. Yogasutra is a series of 196 verses that are explained by Patanjali. This Sage has explained what actual Yoga is and has divided it in 8 different limbs: Ashtanga.
Before explaining briefly what Yogasutra is I would like to talk about a story on how Patanjali was born (My guruji has told me and with his energy I couldn’t forget it). The legend says that there was a woman, with a great knowledge of Yoga, that couldn’t have any children. She was going everyday to the Ganga River and praise the Lord to have a kid that she could pass her knowledge to. Vishnu (the God that is represented with snakes) was seated in its comfortable throne looking down to find someone that could explained easily the knowledge of Yoga to people. He paid attention to her everyday wishes and seeing that she could be the mother he was looking for to give a baby with right skills to explain Yoga easily for everybody. One day he dropped a little snake of him in the Ganga water. So in the next days she went again in the Ganga and while she took the water with her hands, the very tiny snake was in her hands too and she drunk it. This snake went to the womb and 9 months later, we luckily got Patanjali!
We also have an Opening mantra that thanks him to have taught us Yoga easily for all of us.
Going back again to the YogaSutra we can see that this small verses explain the real meaning of Yoga as path and union of the Self (NOT Yourself), to help us understanding he has divided in 8 different limbs:
- Yama (ethical standards and sense of integrity)
- Nyama (discipline)
- Asana (posture)
- Pranayama (breath technique)
- Pratyahara (Sense of withdrawal)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (state of ecstasy)
Each of this limb has been explained in the Sutras and it helps you to achieve, following this path your own state of ecstasy (Samadhi).
To get the real understanding of the limbs, I suggest you to buy the Yoga Sutra and/or to learn from a teacher or Guru. This two actions are also part of the Sutras, like surrender to God and also to the knowledge of a Guru together with the self study of sacred books